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Vaughn, Ray: Wounded Bird

A musical child of the late 70s, singer and guitarist Ray Vaughn was a founding member of punk art rockers Hostages before going on to bring avant-garde outfit Die Bosa Nova to bare on an unsuspecting audience. However by 1992 Vaughn was off the scene, another in the many who seemed destined to make a long lasting mark, retreating into obscurity. A surprise solo return, Way Down Low, appeared in 2013, a singer-songwriter approach finding Vaughn still sharp in attack and tough in outlook. Wounded Bird is the follow up, Vaughn still shining a light on the modern world and the issues hitting it, while offering up equally shuddering musical backing. Aided by a band made up of James DePrato (Chuck Prophet) on guitar and mandolin, Ed Rawlings (Hostage) on electric guitar, Kevin T White (Chuck Prophet) on bass and Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Todd Rundgren) on drums, it should come as little surprise that the spiky, urgent rock music Vaughn serves up, is tight and focused, while still holding a real vibrancy.

Vocally Vaughn may be an acquired taste, his unconventional Jello Biafra meets Tom Petty attack never the most precise missile, although in terms of attitude it hits the bull's eye every time. And that's key here, if you're looking for the honest, but sometimes easy ride that many guys like Bruce Springsteen or Jackson Browne provide, you need to take Vaughn's punk background into account when you approach Wounded Bird.

A cover of New Order's "True Faith" is barely recognisable and yet it hits hard and gets it point across, while the uneasy country vibes of "Change In Latitude" soothe and unsettle in equal measure. However it's through the controlled anarchy of "Human Calculator" and hustle bustle of "Wounded Bird" where Vaughn and his chums really take their strongest swipes, the former sharp and jagged with a no compromise stare, the latter injecting a real sense of urgency. That said, with "Been Away Too Long" infusing an off kilter R.E.M. judder and "Rain" a controlled call for help, there really aren't many moments in this relatively short CD that don't, given time, pull you into Ray Vaughn's way of thinking.

He may be a Wounded Bird, but with his latest album, Ray Vaughn is still flying high.

Track Listing
1. Human Calculator
2. Wounded Bird
3. True Faith
4. Change in Latitude
5. Song for You
6. Been Away Too Long
7. Rain
8. It Happened on Willow Street

Added: January 1st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rayosomusic
Hits: 1364
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Vaughn, Ray: Wounded Bird
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-01-01 20:37:59
My Score:

You can hear the punk roots of San Francisco-by-way-of-London rocker Ray Vaughn in all eight songs on Wounded Bird a refreshing and melodic album by a lesser-known music veteran from the Seventies and Eighties.

Since returning to music in 2013, Vaughn's connected with musicians who've worked with everyone from Smash Mouth and Cracker to Chuck Prophet and The Tubes not to mention producer Michael Rosen (whose credits include Tesla and Papa Roach) to Americanize his solo sound. The snarling immediacy of Vaughn's days with punk rockers Hostages shines through on these eight tracks, and he turns New Order's dance-tastic "True Faith" into a desperate survival anthem.

Vaughn also incorporates mandolin, Hammond B3 and dobro to give a country vibe to songs like "Change in Latitude" and "Song for You," while a few avant-garde tendencies from his days in the Eighties band Die Bosa Nova also peek through ("Human Calculator").

A worthy find!

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