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Red Morris: Lady Rose

Dedicated to his wife Rosa, Lady Rose is the debut album from Italian guitarist Red Morris; the talented six stringer joined by drummer Claudio Amadori, keyboard player Beppe Premi and bassist Renato Mombelli to realise his long held dream. So long held in fact that many of the ideas on this eclectic instrumental release began to form during Red's childhood, where a fascination for music and rhythm slowly became the obsession it now is.

With elements of jazz, prog and pomp rock, Lady Rosa could be seen as somewhat varied, although some might harshly suggest that it's simply all over the place. Proceedings begin with "Golden Angel", keyboards giving the impression we may be headed into that self indulgent meander a lot of European acts confuse for interesting. However once a powering beat kicks in, suddenly it's pomp rock that wouldn't be out of place on a Saracen or Magnum album that greets us with energetic enthusiasm. Immediately it's clear that Morris is a fine guitar player, more interested in embellishing the songs with tasteful solos and sharp riffs than shredding for all he's worth. It's an impressive beginning and one excellently followed up by the similarly styled "Independence" and "Black's Eyes", where it is confirmed that fans of this strutting, proud style will discover much to be impressed by.

Unfortunately, it's when Red Morris moves away from this excellent setting that things slide out of focus, the slow wander of guitar and church organ of "Celtica" taking too long to burst into a more sure footed setting, while "My Life Blues (Go Go)" goes to show why 60 pop tracks all had lyrics and not parping organ leading the way; the slide into cheese barely avoided. Add in the creaking intro of the album's title cut and you're left with an album that doesn't quite know where it sits. This song itself is a good indication of the success and issues Lady Rose reveals, the more 'off piste' moments utterly forgettable, the tighter, heavier, more focused guitar led sections an absolute joy. When it's good, Lady Rose is excellent, however when the quality slips off, there's very little to hold things together; the lack of vocals suddenly a problem.

You have to commend an artist making music from the heart and believing in every note they create. However I can only hope that any follow up from Red Morris will spend more time playing to their strengths, rather than hoping to illustrate a more eclectic side that often fails to live up to expectations. Still, this is a solid and in many places, strong effort that more than hints at possible good times ahead.

Track Listing
1. Golden Angel
2. Lady Rose
3. Mystery
4. Independence
5. Black's Eyes
6. Celtica
7. My Life Blues (Go Go)
8. My Sea's Echoes

Added: April 2nd 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Red Morris online
Hits: 1580
Language: english

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