I first came across the extremely talented guitar player, E D Brayshaw through his regular collaborations with the wonderful Wily Bo Walker…in fact on the review their last album (use the search facility to read ‘em all), I actually said I was looking forward to his solo release.
Well, here it is at last and it is called Fire Without Water. It may sound like an almost Free title but E D spices the blues with rhythm and various tones of rock too…what really gets me however is that, apart from drums on two tracks, he plays every damned instrument himself and does them all well…listen especially for his fluid bass work while I drown in envy!
Opener, Hadn’t Found You, inevitably brings Santana to mind with the guitar sound, although his vocals are careworn in a good way to counteract the smooth, rolling rhythms. The too short solo is simply stunning and the extended, quiet bridge brings a touch of calm and the bass is excellent before more stinging guitar phrases take us to the close. Say What You Will is next and puts a Dr Feelgood sort of chord base to underpin the verses and chorus and E D then delivers a real quality (short) solo over his adept bass playing. When The Walls Come Down slows the pace a little for a solid blues rock song and an interesting storyline…”I got a massive hole in my head where my conscience used to be!” The highlight, obviously, are the central solo with some flash but never widdly playing and the extended ‘outro’ is even better. For I Hear The Rain, we move back to r’n’b with a punkish tinge…until the blistering solo that is inventive and err, too short but is made up for with another, even blisteringer (?) solo to close the track. Said And Done moves toward the south with its Allman’s feel with his bass again adding real depth to the “when all is said and done, more is said than done” storyline. The solos are a lesson in sweetness of tone and making the guitar speak, reflect and compliment the main melodies. Next up is The Call; another punkish slice of r’n’b courtesy of jangling strumming and atonal vocals but with his trademark superb soloing (especially the second one) lifting it above the norm. Penultimate track, Reckless, at a quickly passing eight minutes, is an early favourite with its funky chord work, with restrained power chords over the top…if that isn’t logical, it makes sense to me and to you when you hear it. The soloing throughout is varied, inventive and a must hear for guitar aficionados of any genre…repeatedly. The album closes with the gentle instrumental of Twilight: acoustic guitar and bass introduce us to this tender song with piano highlights all backing up some simply superb guitar playing.
This then is 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.
Bluesdoodles rating: a Wonderful addition to any collection; particularly if you like high quality guitar playing…and who doesn’t?
- Hadn’t Found You
- Say What You Will
- When The Walls Come Down
- I Hear The Rain
- Said And Done
- The Call
E D Brayshaw: vocals, guitars, bass, drums, dobro, lapsteel, keyboards
Lee Feltham: drums on Hadn’t Found You and Said and Done
The iTunes run on track reminded me how clever a certain Ed Allene-Johnson is as, using an electric (homemade) violin via a pedal board, injects a new listening approach to some true