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Norum, John: Play Yard Blues

Ahhhh, the majesty of Mr. John Norum! The Swedish Guitar God and ex-member/current member of the band Europe, just never seems to disappoint and his latest solo record, his 7th, is no exception. Play Yard Blues (Playyard is the name of Norum's studio) is Norum's tribute to the Blues Rock that he grew up playing and falling in love him and gives him a chance to get back to his earliest of roots. Play Yard Blues consists of 10 tracks of both original and cover material and Norum's playing is just flawless.

Play Yard Blues features a CD cover of Norum and his young son, Jake, both with guitars in hand and also serves as a tribute to his late wife, fellow guitar player, american Michelle Meldrum (of the very cool band '90's band, Phantom Blue). Featuring songs sang by John Norum himself as well as Leif Sundin (formerly of Michael Schenker's MSG), this CD is full of excellent performances all around. Songs like the CD opener, "Let it Shine", have Norum providing the vocals with a nice slow, smoky groove that have the guitars following the vocal line in unison and then opens up to a nice catchy and bluesy chorus that of course leads up to a great soul felt solo.

As a HUGE fan of Thin Lizzy myself one of the things that has always endeared me to John Norum has been his fellow love of Lizzy and the magic of the great Phillip Parris Lynott. Throughout Norum's solo career, he has made it his passion to include a Thin Lizzy song on all of his solo records (except for one) and he keeps that tradition alive and well on Play Yard Blues going WAY deep with the awesome, "It's Only Money", from Lizzy's 1974, Night Life album. Sticking to the original version of the song, Norum just simply shines and sounds awesome on the track. Phil would be happy. Other standout tracks are "When Darkness Falls", where Johnny gets to let it rip a bit more like the Norum that fans have come to love, the almost sultry grind of "Over and Done", with more tasty, TASTY lead work, the Frank Marino cover of "Ditch Queen" and the detuned heaviness of "Born Again". And don't miss the instrumental CD ending goodness of the title track! Norum just wrestles each note out of those Les Paul's and again proves his Guitar Hero status.

Play Yard Blues is an excellent, back to your roots, Bluesy Hard Rock record that allows John Norum to play in some more unexpected ways then his career has allowed him to pursue in some ways and in others this record is not very far removed from the guitar pyrotechnics that you have come to love from Norum. Norum is one of those guitar players that totally deserves so much more respect and notoriety than he has been given and Play Yard Blues should help pave another road for him. Filled with tasty and soulful playing as well as some well penned blues laden originals with a sprinkling of classic cover tunes, Norum captures the essence of the Blues thrown against some nice Rock that works very well. If you are fan of Norum's already or a fan of excellently played Bluesy Rock, then you will love Play Yard Blues. This record should find John Norum some new fans and make the old ones happy as well.

Track Listing

  1. Track Listing
  2. Let It Shine
  3. Red Light Green High
  4. It's Only Money
  5. Got My Eyes On You
  6. When Darkness Falls
  7. Over and Over
  8. Ditch Queen
  9. Travel in the Dark
  10. Born Again
  11. Play Yard Blues

Added: October 21st 2010
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 6395
Language: english

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