304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful guitar-centric, but not at the expense of the song, album by a player of serious talent. ED Brayshaw has a touch and feel on the fretboard that many could learn from.
For such a prodigious talent, E D Brayshaw, has recently released only his second solo album: he has, of course, featured frequently in the pages of Bluesdoodles through his collaborations: most notably with Wily Bo Walker. This second album, called Random Repeat, is the follow up to the rather excellent Fire Without Water, which I summed up as “an enjoyable, not quite blues album, with every song having merit…mostly E D’s remarkable guitar prowess. It wasn’t created to be pigeonholed in one genre as it embraces quite a few and does them all proud…well worth a listen.”
I am delighted to report that those sentiments apply to this new release as, once again, ED proves he is a smartarse! He plays everything himself (including drums, apart from three tracks) and, once again, fills me with envy as he effortless plays them all and then they’re stitched together seamlessly to make a strong and varied album.
With typical understatement, ED says
Having spent lockdown writing and recording, I’m very excited about this album and to share my thoughts and observations with you.”
The first track, Storm Warning, is a Wily Bo song from Almost Transparent Blues (and The Roads We Ride): ED keeps the feel and brings his own vocal approach…which is as suited to the song as the original and the guitar playing is the same but different and very, very good. The rock solo is rather excellent too.
Next is a moody, bluesy number with a clever, layered bass and acoustic backing to the self-explanatory title: Don’t Change The Way I Feel. When the electric rhythm guitar joins in it bears close attention as the (relatively) simple chord structure and playing is a delight…the solos hit like bolts of lightning as ED rocks with great runs, bends and sustain. Just Another Night is blues-rock from first to last and ED shows that inherent feel throughout the guitar runs. No surprise really as he recounts performances where he feels the presence of SRV, Duane Allman and Roy Buchanan looking over his shoulder…the solos reflect those inspirations brilliantly.
Take It Away is a very country feeling track with acoustic and electric combining over the brushed drums to put a shuffle in the lightness. As always, the solo makes it a great listen even if, like me, country isn’t your normal choice. Probably Correct has great lyrics as, tongue in cheek, ED puts some swing into a jazzy backing with some superb guitar interjections and, of course, a solo to envy. Fade Away has a bass line that is, in my weird mind, like Michael Jackson and Billie Jean doing Batman! Don’t let that put you off because the rhythm guitar chords have bite and then we gat a sing-a-long chorus with sweeps of organ and more electric, electric guitar. There is, of course, a stunning solo with a mix of chords and picking with sustain to end each section…nice.
Tennessee Blues, also from The Roads We Ride, has changed to acoustic/electric country blues and has a calmness and clarity above the other version…both lovely, but this one may just have the edge…the way he feeds a country lilt into a rock solo is just so clever. Who Am I? is an acoustic blues with subtle slide over picked chords as ED sings in a suitable bluesy tone and then it bursts into rock as the drums join into herald another couple of brilliant rock solos. After The Storm is the third from The Roads We Ride and this time ED calms it acoustically as he explains the aftermath of the storm over some complex bass and subtle slide. The electric solo is shiver-inducing as the dexterity translates the words into dazzling runs and bends. Petite Fleur takes a relaxed jazz view of things…unsurprising as it was written by clarinettist Sidney Bechet and if you give the original a listen, it sounds as if it could have inspired ‘Parisienne Walkways’. Then listen to the way ED somehow imbues the guitar with the same emotive tone of Bechet’s original…it may not rock, but it’s a lovely ‘lay back and listen’ slice of guitar loveliness.
So, having immersed myself in this album, I cannot sum it up any different than I did the last one because this too is “an enjoyable, not quite blues album, with every song having merit…mostly E D’s remarkable guitar prowess.
Don’t Change The Way I Feel
Just Another Night
Take It Away
Who Am I?
After The Storm
E D Brayshaw: Guitars, Bass, Drums, Dobro, Lapsteel, Banjo, Mandolin, Keyboards & Vocals
Lee Feltham: Drums on Tracks 2, 3 & 5
Recorded and mixed in Hungerford, Berkshire
(iTunes brought some more blues-rock with a track by Dublin musician, Eamonn McCormack, and a dream session with his hero Rory Gallagher. The track is Falsely Accused and it is simply genius as the pair trade guitar sections and deliver a brilliant track from his Kindred Spirits album.)