304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful album of varied, blues-based songs that appeal on every level: the strong vocals and superb musicianship across the eight tracks show why Jack Broadbent will be shining even brighter in the blues firmament with this release.
Lincolnshire may not have the same blues gravitas as say, the Mississippi Delta, although it can boast many, many famous people ranging from Hereward the Wake through numerous Victoria Cross recipients to Margaret Thatcher and musicians such as Bernie Taupin. I want to add another ‘notable’ to that list as, with his latest album, the guitarist extraordinaire Jack Broadbent on his latest release, Ride, has provided us with eight superlative examples of well crafted and executed blues shot through with jazz and folk and, above all, the scintillating tones he manages to pull out of his guitars. There are traces of other genres too as Jack grew up listening to everything from Robert Johnson to Radiohead and served his apprenticeship on the streets of London busking before earning (and I mean earning) an opening slot for Lynyrd Skynyrd and for the legend that is Ronnie Wood. Now that’s what I call a CV! And he even has his bass playing Dad (Mick) on board…Mick was in that under-appreciated band, Bram Tchaikovsky. (Check out the Strange Man Changed Man album for what some call power pop and I call different rock.)
Jack’s based in Canada now and that had me wondering if yet more styles have entered his vast musical lexicon…we shall see.
As with most recent releases, the recording of this one presented the now usual pandemic problems, as Jack explains: “The songs were all recorded in a tiny little studio in Canada, myself and drummer Mark Gibson thrashed them outlive during the lockdowns. Next, they took a groovy turn via England as my father Mick Broadbent added the bass lines and sent them back to us across the pond. The result was clear. There’s a little something for everyone on this record and a big dose of attitude. It’s a pleasure to say that even during the toughest of times Rock ‘n’ Roll still felt alive and well. This album is best enjoyed loud!” No argument here Jack…and one listen to the opening, and title track, Ride will have you nodding too. The string wizardry of the intro moves into a low, dirty and very clever riff. A sort of garage-y Berry with more attitude and guitar flurries and, if you watch the video, the superb slide bridge has Jack using a hip flask as a bottleneck. A strong start.
I Love Your Rock ’n’ Roll is like Metal Guru with the glam replaced by blues grit…listen closely and you’ll hear what I mean. This is a real gem of a blues shuffle and provides a join in chorus ready for his live shows. The slide again provides background colour and a simply brilliant solo. New Orleans, unsurprisingly, conjures up that city of diversity with landmark names aplenty. It’s a gentle bluesy song with an irresistible bounce and even a washboard like sound in the clever percussion sequences. The slide features again (no solo though) and the tuning is fascinating as it has a built-in dissonance that sounds great. Hard Livin’ takes us into the blues bar late at night as the chords and runs captivate behind the slow drums and excellent, varied vocals. The slide solo is perfectly pitched and paced and is worth the entrance price alone…although it should have been about an hour longer!
Midnight Radio is a jazzy blues for radio stations that play decent music (my words). It needs a few listens to enjoy all of the layers behind what seems at first to be a simple song…it isn’t, it is very clever and very good. Baby Blue has one of those low, effective chord driven blues riffs that work on so many levels and, on all of the tracks, but this one, in particular, Jack’s Dad delivers a superb bass line to pin it all down and support the stunning slide solo.
Grace is heavy country blues…sort of Canned Heat with added weight and an excellent, distorted harmonica solo from Jack as well as some couples and tasty background guitar. The final track is a surprise: Who Are You? is a gentle starting bluesy vocal workout before it builds tension and pace with a standard but very effective blues-rock riff then dropping back to gentle and returning to rock for a multi-tracked slide and Beatles-y chorus.
I said about his last album, Moonshine Blue…” it is not the blues…it is way more complex than that and embraces many a genre as Jack takes you through a journey of styles of playing and composition. All of the songs work at the target level and it needs to be listened to appreciate the complexity and dexterity that is on display. Give it a few listens and see what I mean.”
I can’t think of a better way, to sum up this new album: yes the tracks are all different and distinct but the quality is just as high.
I Love Your Rock ’n’ Roll
Who Are You?
Jack Broadbent: vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica, percussion
Mick Broadbent: bass
Mark Gibson: drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jack’s has a couple of UK dates (The Black Deer Festival at Tunbridge Well on June 18th and a 100 Club London appearance on June 21st) before a run of shows in the US – details on his website.
(iTunes took me through various Jacks: Bruce, Green, Hutchinson, Russell before I stopped it on Jack Starr’s Burning Starr from 1982 and the quality rock of Run For Your Life.)