Gallus Blues That Owes As Much to The South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago
Although he’s been in around several British music for donkey’s years; ED Brayshaw only came to our attention two years ago via his collaboration with Friend of RMHQ, Wily Bo Walker; but that long wait has been well worth it.
While I’m bored with artists still telling me that they wrote and arranged their 2021 albums during lockdown; I think it’s actually quite prescient as it allowed writers the time to go back over their work in a way that constant touring probably denied them; meaning many songs and arrangements are less rushed and now fuller and often more ‘professionally’ constructed.
That’s certainly not meant as any form of slight against ED Brayshaw’s previous release; which was chock full of energy and passion ….. but here; I get the feeling that this is more the album that he’s always dreamed of releasing under his own name.
RANDOM REPEAT opens with the glorious Storm Warning; which first appeared on a Wily Bo Walker album years ago; but I hardly recognised it in this guise; and there’s something to be said about Brayshaw’s keen observations that this song is even more ‘on the button’ in 2021 as it was 6 years ago.
While Brayshaw’s warm growl singing style is very much his own; but this song and a few more that follow remind me of Graham Parker and his SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS and ANOTHER GREY AREA albums; a heady mix of anger, passion and divine melodies!
#2 Don’t Change The Way I Feel; a slower acoustic led song; that simmers until it eventually nearly boils over when the squealing electric guitars join the fray; may or may not be a metaphor for the yin and yang we all feel about ourselves; or sadly may be a literal tale of a troubled man whose life is leaving him on the edge.
Even when Brayshaw writes a love song; he doesn’t follow the moon/june route as is apparent from Probably Correct and Just a Night; when Brayshaw sings about and even channels his inner Stevie Ray Vaughan; which both owe more to the South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago in the the band play in the most swaggering gallus fashion.
I especially like the way Brayshaw uses light and shade across his songs in a musically cohesive manner; one minute he’s singing a gorgeous acoustic Country tinged missive like Tennessee Blues, or the soulfully sweet Take It Away then slinking around the bar on the sleazy and funky Fade Away, and making all sound like blood brothers.
Then, it all comes to a close with the bittersweet instrumental Petite Fleur that closes the disc.
Which also brings me to my choice of Favourite Track.
At first it was obviously going to be the BB/Freddie King influenced Probably Correct which features some sublimely sizzling guitar breaks and a song that many of us will actually correct with; but the more I’ve played the album the more I’ve been drawn to After The Storm, which errs on the side of Americana-Folk in the way Brayshaw takes us on a road trip fraught with danger and fear with his tale that nods towards Steinbeck, Guthrie and Kerouac for content while using a heady Leslie Harvey/Gary Moore guitar hybrid that sounds like a coiled spring to add extra pathos to what is already a stunning song.
From even a cursory listen; it’s all to easy to appreciate why ED Brayshaw has been a go-to guitarist ; but I’m really happy to tell you that he’s been hiding his songwriting skills under a bushel over those years and I love his slow and sultry singing style too.
E D Brayshaw on Guitars and Vocals
Philip Brannan on Rhythm Guitar
Nick Bevan on Bass and backing vocals
Paul Baker on Drums
Released 15th October 2021
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