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The Raz Band: #9/#9 Live n’ More

Under the names Raz Nasty, RAZ and now The Raz Band, guitarist and singer Michael ‘Raz’ Rescigno has been releasing music for some 35 years and if you discount a recent best of, then this is, as you’ll no doubt have guessed, his ninth album. Flanked by guitarist Joey Molland of Badfinger (who also produces), The Raz Band are completed by Jeff ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson on drums and Jim Manzo on bass, and between them they play good, honest, boogie infused Rock n’ Roll. Never overtly aggressive, we’re looking at a collection here that harks back to a day when you could dance to a twin guitar band without straining your neck and as such, by modern standards, this could be classed as a little sedate. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a strong Quo vibe rolling along comfortably on opener “Breadline Love” or that “Coming At You” doesn’t dart intently on a deep groove and popping beat. However, the spiralling guitar work that makes up “Call Me Raz” too quickly moves from classy Cream-lite into something a little more twee, and while the story within the song itself is certainly engaging, the music is less so.

For me, the trouble really begins when The Raz Band strip things back, “The Winds Of Time” laboured in its trudging intention, while “In The Meantime” feels like it has to work very hard to simply stand still. Much better though is the Beatles strum and lament of “Let Me Tell You”, a song clearly delivered from the heart and capable of bringing you willingly along its path. While oddly it’s the garage punk of The Ramones that flits in and out of the straight up rock n’ roll punch of “The Times Together” and you could also imagine the interestingly titled “Nipple Town” suckling on that vibe as well. But when the intro to “Curveball” unintentionally feels like a budget version of “All Right Now” by Free, then things can be a little uncomfortable.

The live bonus disc that comes with physical versions of the album does a much better job of illustrating the authentic energy The Raz Band can have at their disposal. Here four #9 tracks take on new life, with “Coming At You” and “Nipple Town” showing up especially well. The same, for me, can’t quite be said for the staid “The Winds Of Time” but the seemingly small, but enthusiastic crowd certainly feel like they’re enjoying it. Three older tracks also appear, “The Boy” chugging along intently, “Say Ya Love Me” reintroducing the watered down American punk sound “The Times Together” hints at on the main album, whereas “Back In The Shadows” closes the show in possibly the most authentically energetic style shown across either of the two discs contained here.

It would maybe be possible to suggest that The Raz Band are more an outfit for old time rockers than even for those who call the eighties their own. That doesn’t stop #9 and Live n’ More from bringing a smile to your face but it’s hard to shake off the impression that it’s going to be a little tame by some people’s standards.

Track Listing
Disc One
1. Breadline Love
2. I Got This
3. Curveball
4. In The Meantime
5. Coming at You
6. The Winds of Time
7. Let Me Tell You
8. Call Me Raz
9. The Times Together
10. Nipple Town

Disc Two
1. Coming At You
2. Curveball
3. Nipple Town
4. The Winds Of Time
5. The Boy
6. Say Ya Love Me
7. Back In The Shadows

Added: September 12th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: #9 at Gonzo Multimedia
Hits: 482
Language: english

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