Good Man Gone Bad
8th Train Records
A Good Blues Man Gets Simply Better and Better
Tom Craig has never looked back on music since receiving a guitar for his 11th. birthday. Formal coaching in jazz singing and then, completely immersing himself into the kind of blues that also embraces soul and R&B ensures that approximately 40 years later he has the perfect platform to showcase his undoubted talent.
Good Man Gone Bad is the follow up to 2016’s critically acclaimed ‘Get Ready for Me’ and has the added benefit of being produced by harmonica ace Mikey Junior.
Dave Gross not only plays Bass here; but is also credited with the mixing and mastering plus the band includes many of the top bluesmen in the Keystone State.
Whilst Tom’s debut album was in a more Soul and R&B vein, this sophomore effort has a more defined direction planted firmly in the Blues with a capital B.
“Working Too Hard” is the opening track and really sets the scene with it’s up-tempo beat, distinct riff and catchy lyrics.
“What’s a Man Gotta Do” keeps up the splendid quality followed by the slower piano led title track “You Made a Good Man Go Bad,” where his jazzy vocals convey the sentiments of temptation followed by regret.
What a start! Surely, Tom can’t keep up this standard?
But remain listening and just like me you’ll discover that he most certainly can.
“It’s All My Fault” is another slow song about love gone wrong; with its melancholy chorus of remorse;
“I didn’t give her what she needs. When I saw the look in her eyes.
that’s when I realised.
That it’s my fault.
It’s all my fault”
Which will clearly resonate with many of us.
The pace increases with “Sheepdog”, another song with a pleasing chorus featuring Mikey Junior’s harp and Eric Johnsons Hammond driving hard behind the clear vocal delivery.
All of the 13 songs were written by Tom, with the exception of “When You Love a Blues Man” which he co-wrote with Mikey.
No chorus to this, but three very memorable versus that kick off with
“All the women I love are mad at me.
I did nothing wrong as far as I can see.
I’m just trying to do the best I can.
That’s what you get when you love a Bluesman”.
Neither the attention grabbing riff of “Headhunter” or the Robert Cray sounding “One Way Love Affair” or even “I like Soul in my Blues” with it’s funky horn section qualify as fillers in my book; all are here on merit.
Fact is, quite a few of the tracks could have been elevated to being my favourite, indeed “Change my Way of Living” and the up-beat “Long Time Coming” came pretty close; then again my preference almost leant to the swinging shuffle of “Treat Your Daddy Nice” which kept all ten toes tapping in time from start to finish.
However, along comes the final track on this splendid album that just wins the overall accolade of outright favouritism. “My Turn to Cry” has Bill Heid’s ivory tinkling with a subtle country vibe to compliment Tom’s sensitive delivery of some poignant lyrics
“And when the storm tries to run my ship aground.
I will find safe harbour in this peaceful sound.
I’ll just have to be patient, right now it’s just my turn to cry.
I’ll just have to be patient, right now it’s just my turn to cry”.
If you may be vacillating after reading the above review then why not take notice of John Nemeth, he states “Tom Craig is a bad man, enjoy his new record, I do.” That folks; is clearly in the modern vernacular; meaning the absolute polar opposite.
Good Man Gone Bad is a genuine treasure of a discovery and Tom Craig should be seen as an artisan with tasteful, poetically inspiring lyrics, crisp, sometimes stinging guitar playing and his passionate vocals which certainly turns the title on it’s head, maybe it should read Good Man Gets Better and Better with every listen.
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com
Released April 20th 2020
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