Monday, October 19, 2015

Provogue Records artist: Leslie West - Soundcheck - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (November 20, 2015), Soundcheck, from Leslie West, and it has a new flavor and hot riffs from the guitar ace. West's 16th release opens with Left By The Roadside To Die, a classic rocker augmented by David Biglin on synthesizer. West is really looking at multiple textures adding acoustic slide guitar, and powerful electric guitar riffs to his own rugged vocals making this a great opener. Tracy Chapman's Give Me One Reason gets a power rock rewrite with the vocals kept on the lower side and the guitar doing a nice response to his vocal call. Here For The Party is a straight ahead rocker with West leading the charge vocally. His classic distorted guitar tone and driving bottom makes this a great rocker. A real interesting minor key version of traditional ballad, You Are My Sunshine, with only basic keyboard setup and featuring Peter Frampton trading solos with West on slide. Very nice! AC/DC tribute, Empty Promises/Nothin' Sacred features some of West's best vocals and distorted guitar chords over snappy a guitar bottom. A Stern Warning, an instrumental acoustic guitar piece by West on 12 string shows an entirely different side of the man and possibly even with a little eastern influence. Very interesting. Curtis Mayfield's, People Get Ready, features West on guitar playing nice, melodic soloing to his own vocals, somewhat like the Beck/Stewart cover a number of years back but with a different intensity. Rev Jones lays in a real nice bass line giving the track another dimension as well. Don Nix's Goin' Down, another track done by Beck back in the 70's I think, gets a new boot in the butt joined by Brian May on guitar (after the first solo), Max Middleton on piano, Bobbie Whitlock on organ and Bonnie Bramlett on backing vocal. Excellent! Ariela Pizza joins West on lead vocals on Ben E King's classic, Stand By Me. Done as a tribute to King who died in April, West keeps it totally acoustic with a soft but tight arrangement. The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby is cool remake of the classic but on bass alone. A real nice track and well done by Rev Jones. Wrapping the release is Willie Dixon's Spoonful done Cream style. Featuring the incomparable Jack Bruce on vocal and bass, and Joe Franco on drums. West really does an excellent job laying his own riffs on this track that all classic rockers will know like the back of their hands. Excellent closer!

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