Hear The Track HereYou may remember me foaming at the mouth with excitement while reviewing Marc Blackwell's Bring Me Trouble (December 2010), and I had good reason for such high spirits. If this track is anything to go by, I said, then the album it came from is likely to be a monster. Moreover, 'Gimmie the thing before I rip your arms off trying to steal it' sounds suspiciously like a threat and I guess Marc understood it because here I am: one happy bunny. Except, of course, now I have to write about it... Oh well, a small price for a brace of class rock songs. I met him through Dean Taylor, a songwriter I met some years ago who has co-written some of the track with Marc, including that amazing title track. Put it like this, it's one of those tracks you can find no fault with whatsoever and those are as rare as hens teeth, hence it's well deserved Must Have rating. The more I hear it, the more it reminds me of The Sopranos theme tune but that was always the case and - I suspect - one of the main reasons I like it so much. Anyway, it's suitably track one of the CD, a place it deserves so if you hear nothing more, listen to this track.
I Gotta Stay establishes that Bring Me Trouble is definitely not a one-off, either technically or in instrumental or songwriting skills. It should now be obvious that this kinda/sorta Tom Waits style vocal delivery (except nothing like as gravelly) is as much a part of his style as the sharpness of the songs. As well as writing some of the tracks with Dean Taylor, Marc has pulled in some excellent musicians to help out with the chores. Bring Me Trouble, for example, features Morgen La Civita on backing vocals whereas Bad Horizon (track three) features her again as well as an excellent flamenco guitar arrangement courtesy of Daniel Fries. Bad Horizon is also the first indication of how far Marc can stretch this style and as much as I enjoyed the first two tracks this is the track I started to get a certain twinge about. Awesome stuff. I Got Friends goes back to classic rock and features some nifty guitar work from the man himself, albeit tasteful and restrained. If you can imagine a cross between Dire Straits and JJ Cale, this would be it. Again, the level of musical proficiency on display here is absolutely top quality, whatever else you might feel about the genre. As it happens, there is a huge market for classic rock so I can see this track doing well. There is even more of a Dire Straits feel on Her Rusty Razor and Chasing Shooting Stars, although that's a lazy reference for sure.
I Know It's Complicated is a terrific pop song in disguise, helped enormously with some telling backing vocals from Amy Caldwell. For my money, this is my favourite track of the whole album and God knows that's an impossible task with music this good but I Know Its Complicated presses all my buttons and would definitely be another Must Have from this CD so that's two.... Amy also appears on Barefoot Girl, an almost ska-like track that is undeniably pop in style if not in structure. Funnily enough though, this one grows like a weed on you so be careful. There are ten tracks on this CD and I can only say I would recommend listening to just about any of them and now I understand why most of them have been snapped up for soundtracks, but they stand up by themselves as slices of quality classic rock, performed to a very high standard. As always, though, it's the combination of recording/technical ability allied to the performing and song writing skills that really mark out something as really worthy and Marc Blackwell and friends more than deliver on the initial promise Bring Me Trouble (the track) provided me with. It isn't often I can actually recommend every track on a project but I have no hesitation with this one.
MUST HAVE class classic rock.