Joyland

Chris Spedding

Cleopatra Records, 2015

http://chrisspedding.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/18/2015

Chris Spedding has been one of the more noted and in-demand session guitarists of the last 40 years.  He is much better known in his native England then the United States but has still recorded and toured consistently in America. He has now issued his thirteenth studio album titled nbtc__dv_250 Joyland.

Spedding is more of a heavy-handed guitarist in the Duane Eddy tradition than a light precision approach such as Eric Clapton or Mark Knopfler.  It may not have the twang of Eddy but it is a full-bodied sound that he evokes from his instrument.

He has always been one of the best guitarists working on the music scene, but here he has wisely surrounded himself with an array of guest vocalists for his original compositions.

The album has a different and creative beginning.  Actor Ian McShane provides the vocal for the spoken word title song.

Spedding’s guitar work is consistent throughout the album, so it is the guest vocalists that give the tracks their personality. Arthur Brown of “Fire” fame brings his rhythm & blue holler style to “Now You See It.” Brown has recorded with rockabilly artist Robert Gordon in the past and here he provides the vocal for “I Still Love You.” Bryan Ferry’s voice runs counterpoint to Spedding’s guitar work on “Gun Shaft City.”

Two instrumental probably represent Spedding’s approach best. Early in his career, he did some production work for the Sex Pistols, and Glen Matlock joins him on “Café Racer.” “Heisenberg” is a pyrotechnic guitar romp with Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr.

Chris Spedding is one of those musicians you have probably heard a number of times without realizing It. Every once in a while, he steps out on his own; while he may not change the face of rock ‘n’ roll, he brings a sophistication and joy to his music and in the final analysis, that will do.

Rating: B

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