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Flyin' Ryan Brothers, The: Blue Marble

On Blue Marble, the fourth album and first (almost) all-instrumental record from the dual lead-guitar duo of Jimmy and Johnny Ryan, the brothers let loose with a barrage of soaring harmony leads and six-string interplay backed by a solid rhythm section that includes bassist William Kopecky and Bob Behnke and Johnny Mrozek on drums and percussion. This time out, though, the multi-instrumentalist siblings also rely on exotic ethnic sounds to give Blue Marble unexpected stylistic diversity. Indeed, Kopecky's use of the sitar and tanpura on the Middle-Eastern-fueled "Baghdad" and "Gaza" add flair to a record with character to spare.

Track lengths range from less than 70 seconds for the drum-heavy "Snake Stretcher" to eight-and-a-half minutes for the soothing melodic swirls of "The Great Divide." In between come the jazzy "American Beauty" and a fun cover of Wishbone Ash's "Blowin' Free" the only vocal track on this 13-song set. Whether the Ryans are pounding out monster riffs on "Godzilla vs. Mothra" and then flirting with whimsy on "The Road to Galway," or showcasing their film-soundtrack aspirations on the pastoral "Avalon" before gettin' their groove on during the funky "Babel," the duo ensures that no two tracks on Blue Marble sound the same. And in the world of instrumental electric guitar music, that is no small accomplishment.

Track Listing:
1) Baghdad
2) Skytrain
3) Godzilla vs. Mothra
4) The Road to Galway
5) The Great Divide
6) Gaza
7) Blue Ridge
8) American Beauty
9) Snake Stretcher
10) Valley of the Kings
11) Avalon
12) Babel
13) Blowin' Free 2005

Added: March 9th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Flyin' Ryan Brothers Web Site
Hits: 3389
Language: english

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Flyin' Ryan Brothers, The: Blue Marble
Posted by Mike Blackburn, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-09 08:36:57
My Score:

"Time was" when a stellar classic British quartet offered up a scintillating combination of boogie based riff rock, epic instrumental struggles, tight jazz influenced musical pearls and progressive rock tales. The common thread throughout was the sweet sound of perfect pitch harmony guitar playing. A visit to the website of the aforementioned band several years ago provided link to and high recommendation for a new breed that had "taken up the sword" so to speak. The classic quartet was of course Wishbone Ash and the new breed was indeed the Ryan Brothers out of the heartland of America.

Jimmy and Johnny have in fact been playing together for over thirty years and Blue Marble is in fact their fourth band release in the last seven. They have obviously spent a great deal of that time actually working together because there has never before been as rock solid and superglue tight an intermeshing of rock guitars as there is on this album! More amazing still is the fact that these dual leads were recorded in real time!

Let's get the Ash comparisons out of the way. There is but one vocal track on this 65 minute release, a cover of the classic Ash tune "Blowin' Free". What a cover it is! Other than the very first studio Ash rendition this is bar none, the best version I have ever heard replete with nods to classic riffs from several other Ash tunes. It is precisely because the other 12 tracks are instrumental that full credit must be given to the brothers for providing a sweeping panorama of lyrically melodic guitar playing over a broad variety of rockin' tunes. From the eastern mystery of "Baghdad" and "Gaza" to the Celtic lilt of "The Road To Galway"; the F.U.B.B. like intro to the funky "American Beauty" and the eighties Satch like vibe of "Valley Of The Kings", the brothers cover a lot of terrain here. The one constant throughout is the well thought out melody and razor sharp harmony, a truly spectacular display. I need to get the other three albums!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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