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Chris Spedding - Joyland

  by Lisa Torem

published: 12 / 4 / 2015

Chris Spedding - Joyland
Label: Cleopatra Records
Format: CD


Frenzied-paced thirteenth solo album from guitarist Chris Spedding, which includes guest appearances from Glen Matlock, Bryan Ferry, Johnny Marr and Andy Fraser

He’s been as prolific onstage and in the studio, in his chosen field of rock ‘n’ roll, as the Bard’s actors were when reciting a soliloquy. He’s the one and only British energy bar, Chris Spedding, the wild-in-the-streets rocker whose legacy includes enriching the compositions of major players, ranging from the likes of Cale to McCartney. The dozen tracks in his 13th solo album, 'Joyland', represent a generous offering. Guest stars include Glen Matlock, Bryan Ferry, Johnny Marr and Andy Fraser. There’s even a 16-year-old vocalist, Lane, who appears in a fab duet. The thread is that Spedding has worked with or admired the talents of his guest artists. The album is overall deep down rock ‘n’ roll spiked with punk. It’s passionately interconnected with raucous riffs, heady lyrics and covers of great songs that might have been collecting dust in our grandmum’s attic if Spedding hadn’t offered them a crack in the window. Ian McShane engages in spoken word in the theme song: “It’s a door that never closes, the hicks just love the place. See the crowd posing for pictures.” Is this what fame looks like from the other side? It’s cushioned by soft harmonies and pounding guitar. ‘Now You See It’ has some super, interpretive vocals mixed with blazing riffs. There’s great balance between the two that would wake Dracula out of a deep, morning snooze. Arthur Brown’s voice on it sounds like a blues harp. The heat is on. ‘Café Racer’ puts Glen Matlock in charge of the gearshift, and in the rear view window the rest of the world zips by too fast for you to catch your breath. The low bass serves as accomplice. If you loved ‘spaghetti westerns,’ you’ll eat up ‘Gun Shaft City.’ Featuring Bryan Ferry, it’s got a fascinating beat and you can imagine a shoot-‘em-up coming around the bend in this ghost town track. ‘Heisenberg’ features Johnny Marr. This is a grizzly, magnificent low growl against the lonesome clack of a castanet. The eerie whistling hides below the very melodic instrumental. ‘I Still Love You’ dips back to a more soulful old school time. Andy Mackay pulls ‘The Pied Piper’ out of the trunk and brings out the lyric’s understated beauty. ‘Go Down South’ has some great lyrics. “I got a girl with a curious engine and a screaming mouth.” You will love the swampy feel of this tune and the hard-wired electric spasms. Andy Fraser’s hidden gem, ‘Shock Treatment’ is another tune that might not have seen the light of day. It was during his time in the Sharks that it melted hearts. ‘I’m Your Sin’ is bluesy and staccato. This is where we get to hear the aforementioned songstress, Lane, who was discovered by Spedding. With Steve Parsons love, ‘Message for Stella’ rings out brightly. This is a great homage to writers/performers like Billy Joel, Billy Idol or Johnny Rivers. “She’s got a breeze in her hair/Right from the start, she was torn from my heart.” It’s absolutely impossible to not love this song. The lyrics are stunning and the rendition will unpeel your sultry lashes from your eyes, so keep your shades on. ‘Boom Shakka Boom’ is exactly what you might think. “There’s a hole in the world where the love gets in.” Spedding and his cohorts will fill it. You? Just soak up the vibes.

Track Listing:-
1 Joyland
2 Now You See It
3 Café Racer
4 Gun Shaft City
5 Heisenberg
6 I Still Love You
7 The Pied Piper
8 Go Down South
9 Shock Treatment
10 I'm Your Sin
11 Message for Stella
12 Boom Shakka Boom

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Interview (2011)
Chris Spedding - Interview
Chris Spedding, who is possibly Britain’s best known session guitarist, talks to John Clarkson about his new jazz-influenced solo album, 'Pearls', annd working with John Cale, Bryan Ferry and the Sex Pistols

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