Blues is often said to be whisky driven, for me this is an album fuelled by quality gin not moonshine, but one of Gin, the spirit flavoured with hints and whispers of various botanical flavours with the key flavour juniper that tease and test your taste buds. Influence does the same for your ear and tests the hearing skills as you find and identify the influences from genres and guitarists including Rock, Rock n’ Roll, Psychedelia, Heavy, guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan Jeff Healey and others the overall influence is the blues of every shade and tone this album is an aural teaser. Every track is different with a balanced mix of divine originals and instinctual covers that take you to a place that is musical and spiritual; they hit that musical nerve at the bass of your spine and send tingles and shivers of delight throughout creating a feeling of oneness with the music.
The opening track Tom Devil, is full of six-string mastery creating a swampy humid riff that drives this heavy moody psychedelic blues, setting the scene for a Sayce album that has a lot to say and refuses to follow a pre-ordained approved pattern for the blues. This is free fall blues and I love it.
The re-arrangement of Little Richard’s Green Power, this is a gem of a classic that really deserves this outing and has a live feel reflecting what producer Dave Cobb said on the second try ‘that’s a take’… and Green Power is certainly a track you return to. Another cover that has been cleverly drawn back in to the light and our consciences is David Nash’s Better Days which displays his vocal skills with a guitar sound which is purer allowing the voice to shine; reflecting that you have to keep on trying you have to do the ground work to get to the next level, this is the album where Sayce has stepped onto the next level.
Evil Women is full of guitar vibrations as the chords pick up and then his voice full of vexed hurt that works with a really grinding set of guitar riffs that reflect the underlying evil as he says “She is full of spite”. Want a change of tempo well Sailin’ Shoes is a brighter sound that gets your feet tapping and has a great chorus line if you feel like singing along, this is a catchy guitar tune that should be getting mainstream airplay; you recognise it well this Lowell George number was recorded by Little Feat.
The longest title and the most traditionally bluesy track on this heavily blues influenced album is Blues Ain’t Nothing But A Good Woman On Your Mind – yes Salt in my coffee and black pepper in my bread… from 1969 Don Covay & Lemon Blues band in 1969 another clever and unusual cover given a Sayce airing for the 21st century.
The album is aptly named Influence, because this is an album full of difference and that makes it such a fun and interesting listen you do not want to miss a note, a guitar lick that twists and turns and takes you to a different place,
Philip Sayce is playing at the top of his game on this album. He certainly achieved his goal when Sayce says “My intention is to move away from ‘flavour of the month ‘ and to reconnect with the spirit” this album will influence your listening for a long time to come.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of