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Spencer; Jeremy: Bend In The Road

One of the two original guitarists to feature in Fleetwood Mac, Jeremy Spencer, possibly through the virtue of not suffering a "meltdown" as his guitar-ring partner Peter Green famously did, has been the long forgotten man of the band he helped shape. Spencer did release three solo albums during the 70s and the Live In Concert-India 1998 appeared a year after its recording. However in 2006 some 27 years after his last studio outing, Precious Little arrived to cement Spencer's reputation for being a classy, poised blues guitarist with a penchant for rock n' roll. Something that Bend In The Road confirmed in remarkably assured, laid back style earlier this year when it was released as a limited double slab of vinyl. Thankfully for those of us who missed out on that version, or over the years committed the heresy of ditching their turntable, Bend In The Road is now also available on CD.

Surrounding himself with younger musicians to create some relaxed, confident traditional music, Spencer has put together fourteen songs that waltz you through the best of what traditional blues and rock n' roll have to offer. This isn't an album trying to reinvent the genres for which it is so fond, instead it illustrates why this music endures and flourishes many years after myriad genres have conquered and then fallen in their wake. Built round his remarkably fluid guitar-work BitR takes you by the hand, shuffles you through the blues, dances you to rock and roll and sways you gently to some jazzier observations. It is by modern standards intentionally gentle stuff, harking back to a time when the exuberance of Bonamassa would have been enough to scare people to their wits end. In fact the boogying "Stranger Blues" is nearly as crazy as this album gets and crazy it ain't. Good however, it is. As is the wonderful Eddie Cochran take-off "Earthquake", where the riff to Eddie's "Summertime Blues" is used as a base for some enigmatic vocals and sumptuous slide work, while "Refugees" adds something akin to a laid back Jackson Browne vibe to the mix. Add to that the bright bop of "Cry For Me Baby", the smooth countrified slide-fest of "Desired Haven" and the Cajun styled instrumental "Whispering Fields" and Bend In The Road keeps delivering the goods in an under stated yet supremely convincing manner.

Not an album that is likely to change your life, or blow your mind, Bend In The Road instead serves up supreme musicianship through an all too often forgotten level of restraint and a carefully crafted set of songs that sound clear, sharp and current while at the same time remaining reassuringly authentic.


Track Listing
1. Homesick
2. Cry For Me Baby
3. Whispering Fields
4. Walked A Mile
5. Earthquake
6. Aphrodite
7. Secret Sorrow
8. Stranger Blues
9. Homework
10. Desired Haven
11. Come To Me
12. Merciful Sea
13. Refugees
14. Bend In The Road

Added: October 27th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: JeremySpencer.com
Hits: 941
Language: english

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