Eric Gales

Middle Of The Road

(Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group)

Now if there is one label you could NEVER put on guitarist and singer Eric Gales, it is ‘middle of the road’…other musicians I meet speak of Gales in hushed tones, as ‘out there’, ‘inspired’ and ‘a mighty figure’. Especially the American ones. I do have some of his older albums and have tended – overall – to be more impressed by the sinuous Hendrixy playing than the actual material. However, here he comes now with a brand new album on Mascot…

 

So far the best Gales I have heard is the contribution he made to the Band Of Gypsys post-Jimi recordings with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. I would say he was the best collaborator included on that album. Eric has fire, flair, fluidity to spare. So let’s listen to these tracks:

 

Good Time has a jokey start and his voice sounds great, with soul-girl chorale participating over chattering electric guitar and handclaps. It’s pretty much driven gospel with throaty Hammond. He makes us wait for the guitar! And it never comes…

 

Change In Me has wild lead and a reggae rhythm guitar setting, Gales sings better than I have heard him before, more warmth and assurance. This cut hints at The Hunter, albeit at a different tempo. At 2:10 he launches into a biting legato guitar solo with a flurry of offshoots and a tail of wah – fantastic!  Carry Yourself takes a steady tempo and mines its groove with jaw-jutting firmness and excellent singing. Delayed guitar leaps out of the ensemble sound, imagine Rollin’ & Tumblin’ in a churchy mode. Has he been hanging out with Jonny Lang?? maybe on the Experience Hendrix tour?

 

Boogie Man has Gary Clark Jnr aboard takes a steady but still jumpy tempo and Gales puts linear axe runs under the Clark rasp. This is quite a guitar team, of course and boy do their voices combine well !  Been So Long is choppy as hell and has more than a tinge of Level 42 in its delivery and shape. He sings and plays it well and the contemporary keyboard sound works quite effectively, with ace guitar @ 2:00 spinning melodies around the thread of the tune. Could easily be a radio hit !!

 

Help yourself finds Eric in the company of Christone Ingram tackling an old-timey number, distorted vocal evoking Papa Lightfoot and Pop Staples in equal measure, more great guitar tones; I’ve Been Deceived is a snarly, questioning song with edgy guitar and the ladies in full voice. Repetition has Eugene Gales featured on a fusion-slanted piece with emphatic drumming, it is other-worldly and shadowy. Eugene squeals through his guitar as part of the heady mix.

 

Help Me Let Go is pastoral and pretty and seems to centre on redemption, the kind of song that Nat King Cole liked to include in his sets. I Don’t Know plays with voice syncopation at its commencement then hits a Glenn Hughes funk-rock riff! Swamp takes the collection home with jittery funk riffs and a driving beat.

 

The last thing I would expect, but much of this new record makes me think of The Staples and Taj Mahal in the warmth of the singing and rootsy tempo’s used. The guitar is mostly considered rather than explosive and in all this shows a few different sides to this creative cat. He can be proud of it.

Pete Sargeant

(Many thanks to all of the team at Mascot Label Group UK)



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Eric Gales' new studio album 'Middle Of The Road' is out now on Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.

In addition, Eric Gales will join label-mates Supersonic Blues Machine as their special guest for their first ever UK show on the main stage at Ramblin Man Fair, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom on Sunday 30th July 2017.

Tickets for Ramblin Man Fair 2017 are onsale here: http://bit.ly/1UNhvyj

You can purchase his new album from Amazon UK here: http://amzn.to/2mse9FW

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2mfdEmH

Eric Gales