King King has been a consistent source of quality blues-rock for a few years now and their latest (fifth) album is no exception…Maverick does see the shift toward more rock that was noticeable on the rather lovely Exile And Grace but it is still firmly rooted in the blues we love and the latest line up certainly delivers rock and blues that is worthy of the repeat button (or moving the needle back to the beginning). Joining the stalwart Alan Nimmo is his brother Steve complimenting him on guitar, Johnny Dyke, Zander Greenshields and Andrew Scott on keys, bass and drums respectively add to the high level of musicianship on display.
This slight shift in emphasis has developed well and they serve up ten tracks that bring to mind Thunder and solo Paul Rodgers work in the way the roots are never forgotten but woven through the rockier or, in the case of the ballads, the melodic side of things to define what blues rock is all about.
Opening with Never Give In, you will immediately see what I mean…very Thunder in feel but Alan stamps his authority with a fine vocal performance. Listen for the fine Hammond fills and runs behind it all but no solo! Fire In My Soul is damnably catchy and, although seemingly ‘lightweight on first listen, the depth of the instrumentation is wonderful with the piano/organ work and the carefully crafted guitar solo being particularly noteworthy.
Whatever It Takes To Survive is the first ballad and has a soulful, bluesy approach to the slow rhythm; the chords from both guitarists are played with subtlety behind the verses and given more heft as the chorus swells. The guitar duet and solo also bring a familiar yet original touch to the whole thing. I Will Not Fall injects some funk into the blues-rock base with electric piano and bass giving the song a solid, effective structure. The guitar solo almost conflicts with the rest of the song with its stinging attack but, although far too short, it does work well.
By Your Side brings us a piano-led ballad with Alan showing he can do the passion as well; the guitar solo eventually arrives and it’s worth waiting for as, for me, it rescues what could have become predictable. One World is back to rock with great blues bass and more funky keys as the song grows into something that engages and draws you in with the made to sing-along chorus.
Everything Will Be Alright is like Bad Company at first and then develops into pure Nimmo with multi-tracked vocal choruses and (eventually) a great guitar solo to round off a strong nigh on AOR classic. When Winter Comes is back to balladry with a passionate piano and vocal all the way through. Dance Together could so easily have been a cliche when it starts but such is the quality of these musicians that it just works and even has the best solo of the album…carefully picked and not a note out of place (or, importantly too many put in) but ’cos I’m me, I have to say it was woefully short!
The final track, called suitably, End Of The Line should be used to show what power ballad means…soaring keys, singable choruses, great guitar behind it all and a tasteful, varied guitar solo…quality!
Maverick is another strong entry into the Nimmo cannon: even though I tend to revisit the Nimmo brothers work, this one has already found a place on my playlists.
(Please note that the album release has been delayed until 27th November by “artwork issues” but will be out soon and they’ve released Dance Together as a single…see their website for details.) King King says “It feels wonderful to be able to release a new song, Dance Together is available to buy/stream now. If you have already pre-ordered Maverick you will be sent the track via your online order point.https://orcd.co/dancetogether“
Bluesdoodles rating: A Wonderful, album of quality blues rock played with skill, feeling and meaning…King King deliver across the genres.
1. Never give In
2. Fire In My Soul
3. Whatever It Takes to Survive
4. I Will Not Fall
5. By Your Side
6. One World
7. Everything Will Be Alright
8. When Winter Comes
9. Dance Together
10. End Of The Line
King King are:
Alan Nimmo (vocals/guitar)
Stevie Nimmo (guitar)
Jonny Dyke (organ/piano)
Zander Greenshields (bass)
Andrew Scott (drums).
(The iTunes run on track took me into the rock of the underrated and unfairly criticised world of Kingdom Come…the German one, not Arthur Brown. All of their albums are worth repeated listens and Ain’t Crying For The Moon from 2005 is no exception.)