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Hawkins; Vince; & Company Slave: Roads To Freedom

You know when you pick out an album from Grooveyard Records that the guitar is going to be the star. Roads To Freedom from Vince Hawkins & Company Slave is no different. Strong flavours of the 60s, 70s and 80s mean RTF is an album that's going to gain the interest of a strong cross section of Rock lovers; especially if they hold some of the real guitar gods close to their hearts. For Hawkins has the rounded smooth attack of Hendrix, the slow handed guile of Clapton and the fire and urgency of Eddie Van Halen. A mean mix in anyone's book and then some. Add to that a David Lee Roth like raspy bluesness to Hawkins' voice and the Van-vibe becomes stronger still, even though the wisps of aroma which emanate from this album are often far more vintage.

"Neighbour" positively bellows an introduction, a clarion call to the riff n' roll Hawkins obviously loves, his vocal hollers and fret growls instinctively complementing a bulging beat and hammering bass line. "Mother Nature" whooshes from the speakers, a six-string assault of urgent accuracy revealing a chorus that keeps you sweet and interested, before "Room Full Of Mirrors" allows drummer Ryan Ferrando to step up to the plate and hit a rope right into next week. The manner in which he brutally caresses his cymbals, while thundering his kick drum and ensnaring his snare, immediately transporting you into the world of Ginger Baker, and giving the Clapton-esque riff decidedly more than a dash of Cream. Put simply it's pretty damn excellent.

"Rock & Roll Is What We Know" may have the sort of, we were born to do this, cheesy lyrics its name suggests, yet the laid back vibe makes it easy to forgive. Especially when "You Were There" unveils a slow Hendrix slide, "I'm A Gambler" a funkier, if no less poignant edge and "Misty Colored Rainbow" a wandering melody and classy vocal. In fact even the straight up, if unsurprisingly rockin', take on the Beatles "Taxman" hits the spot, while the breezy melancholy of closer "Broke Down Soul" closes the album in considered if still captivating fashion.

Roads To Freedom finds Vince Hawkins in rude health and fine form; his Company Slave, Ferrando and bassist Alan Briant matching him step for step. A classy production brings things right up to date but there's no denying that it is those who still hanker for authentic 60s and 70s sounds with slap of 80s exuberance that will lap this up most eagerly. And so they should!


Track Listing
1. Neighbour
2. Mother Nature
3. Room Full Of Mirrors
4. Rock & Roll Is What We Know
5. Evil B. Knockin'
6. Koko Blue
7. You Were There
8. I'm A Gambler
9. Making Time
10. Just Ain't Right
11. Taxman
12. Misty Colored Rainbow
13. Broke Down Soul

Added: March 29th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Vince Hawkins at The Grooveyard
Hits: 958
Language: english

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