Earl & The Agitators All Star Band feat. Scott Holt

Shaken & Stirred

(Foghat Records)




As a reviewer, I get a lot of records to write about. More and more, with a lot of new music business produce there is something missing. Something that can be sensed in every musical genre at its best, but that nowadays seems to take third or fourth place. What’s missing is LOVE. That pure love driving the efforts of the singers and players. It’s especially true of most dance music, it’s all so mechanical, so cold, therefore a record like this just reeks of love, love of the music and songs AND moreover respect for co-creators. Nobody here is showing off, though every participant is skilled and focussed. Thus what they choose to play and sing just connects straight away. It’s more than just comfortable, it’s driven…

We’ll go into the band personnel in a separate piece with drummer Roger Earl and explaining the involvement of guitar star Scott Holt. For now let’s just press play

Upside Of Lonely gets the set under way on a stealthy groove, each guitar clean and separate in the mix, bass notes fat and authoritative, drums crisp and purposeful. I think it is a Tom Hambridge number so the lyrics are tongue in cheek and gently acidic. To get these biting guitar motifs rolling you have to understand the dynamics of the music and these blokes do. On to Where’s The Rock’n’Roll a group original with a chugging dirty sound with slide guitar touches that sound terrific.

I’m Coming Home has an airy wistful mood about it but rocks hard, in early Bob Seger style. Again the slide licks really lift the tune and the drum fills show imagination. He always was a listener ! Guess Things Happen That Way is a Jack Clements number, delivered here with all the verve of early Moby Grape. It’s that good ! Next up the reflective Love Isn’t Kind with a spot-on vocal, more own produce and a superior song indeed. An album highlight with a cool guitar weave. Fallen Angel is a tumbling punchy effort, based on fuzzy chording. A version of chestnut Hi Heel Sneakers follows and it stomps along to great effect.

Linda Lu has a real Texas lope, unrelenting and solid. The greasy guitar fills sound ace, the middle eight is hit with aplomb. Honey Do List by the ensemble has a Meters-but-faster feel, love the bass on this one. Tricky runs and hints at staggers emphasise the sheer funk of the tune, real fun and a twist of The Kinsey Report. Lonesome Train evokes Savoy Brown at their most edgy, maybe Dave Walker era.

The grip on this is stunning, the Sun Studio delay on the vocal perfect. One lovely tune sung by many artists is Sunday Morning Coming Down. In this incarnation, the fresh-air country vibe is exquisite with appropriate singing. Then we get Gone Dead Train with a true railroad pace. A tinge of Creedence perhaps. All Because Of You is yet another strong composition with its choppy arrangement and urgent vocal. Nice guitar mix with a touch of flanging.

The edition I have adds a set of live recordings from a date at Club Arcadia – there are five numbers which I leave you to savour when you purchase this album, which I suggest you do…

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks to Arnie and Roger)

Earl & The Agitators All Star Band feat. Scott Holt new album 'Shaken & Stirred' is out now on Foghat Records.

To purchase the album and for more information visit the band's official website here: http://bit.ly/2ETcgP2