A Better Man
Produced by Marcus and engineered by the late and much-missed Roger Cotton, this record is the latest from the Detroit-born blues-rock vocalist, his first since Stand Or Fall. My memory bank recalls that he was one of the many stars who performed at a benefit show where we all turned up and coughed up to help with Walter Trout’s medical costs when he needed a transplant….
House Of Blues hits the listener with a deep bass sound, pattering drums, gritty guitar and cool vocal. Descending Hammond chords and that distinctive Alan Glen harp. Malone has such authority in his voice, riding the musical backdrop. Sean Nolan takes a fluid solo on the guitar ; Better Man, the album title cut has startlingly good lyrics as written on the album cover, blues poetry. The song has a deliberate heavy and grimy vibe. This is as well as I have heard this man sing. William Burke is on guitar here and the number sounds like a Whitesnake ambience. Especially when they all sing along…
Too Long Gone has a tough boogie intro and sharp slide guitar ; Just Another Heartache has a great classic rock-blues intro and a touch of Whitesnake again in the phrasing. Very catchy number ; Feelin’ Bad Blues is an acoustic stomp with Glen’s harp cutting in here and there. It works.
Philomene goes Johnny Kidd on tempo and is a lively tune, headed for the next setlist, I imagine ; Complications features our old pal Robin Bibi on guitar and rolling piano with Alan’s harp blazing away. The chord construction is a tad unusual and the electric slide interjections sound cool ; The Only One has a fabulous intro and Eastern twist in the guitar as Malone sings strongly over the Petty-style composition. No, make that Cheap Trick ! Thick chorus and insistent beat..what a winner!
Stand Up is yet another quality song, well-constructed and propulsive and a terrific vocal performance ; In Your Arms grips the listener from the off, every song is in the perfect key..some thought has gone into this. Can’t Go Back sounds like Blue Oyster Cult as it commences then the throaty voice cuts in. Shine Your Light is a midnight bluesy workout and another high quality composition.
It must be said that the heavy shadow of well-sung blues-rock of Whitesnake over this record but that’s no crime and Malone emerges as an excellent writer and singer keeping first-class musical company. He’s good and this is his best album yet, we salute ya, Marcus!
(Thanks Pete Feenstra for the nod on this release)
Marcus Malone’s new album ‘A Better Man’ is released by Redline Music on Thursday 30th March 2017.
For artist and tour information, you’d be best advised to head over to www.marcusmalone.com