Gary Jeffries – guitar & vocals
1. Country Born Blood
We do not introduce Gary Jeffries anymore, an artist who has worked for the Southern rock in bands like Alligator Stew or The Regulators, then in solo career. So, what does he have in store for his tenth album? Let’s just say it immediately, the result is mixed. In accordance of the good things, some songs do well like « Country born blood » (a syncopated rock with medium tempo with short but effective piano and guitar solos) or « Deeper shade of blue » (a rock mid tempo ballad with a melodic chord progression and an excellent six-string solo). « Dixie crush » starts with a typical Southern intro to continue in Southern rock at the average tempo with a good slide. Again a good Southern rock, a bit faster with « Fell in love on the bayou » and his solid guitar solo. « Ain’t done yet » do honestly well and let stamp the feet with the respect of the golden rule: good rock and good guitar solo! However, we regret a lack of guitar solos on « Get what’s comin’ » (a fast country-rock with harmonica) and the country ballad « Who’ll stop the rain ». We also note that Gary Jeffries has re-recorded two titles already present on the Alligator Stew album (« First taste of… »). First, « Mad dog saloon » with the « old west » atmosphere and musical accents of the Appalachians (harmonica and banjo). It is well seen but two defects fade the whole: a too discreet slide and the absence of a six-string solo. Then the swinging and melodic « One time too long » with a melodious piano solo but no guitar solo, Gary just playing phrases in the background. Well, all this is not so bad but we must still consider the flip side. Indeed, several pieces are very unoriginal due to the choice of a medium tempo too slow: « She’s got me callin’ » (with a melodic solo but not very inventive), « Smokin’ gun » (listless and without solo) , « Ticket on the train » (with banjo and harmonica arrangements in the background) and « You got your ways » (with too short guitar intervention with a clear sound). And let's not forget « John David » syncopated and clumsy rhythm, with just a little slide in the background and no axe solo. A limit for a song that tells the story of a guitarist! This album is therefore relatively uneven with effective songs on one side and mid tempo songs more banal on the other. Add to that a too discreet six-string, or nonexistent in some cases. Gary Jeffries has probably tended to favor texts over music (we also realize it if we listen carefully to the lyrics). An artistic choice that can be understood. But in the end, the guitar is the big loser. Pity !
Let the guitar play !