Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy bring the blues...
Mark Perlaki

18:40 24th March 2006

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Alabama 3 front man Robert Love shows his chameleon-nature and eclectic musical tastes on this his first solo release 'Ghost Flight' after a decade with Ala3. It's an album that's handled with great care, and addresses some of the preoccupations Robert has had to contend - having had hospital surgery on his neck following an incident allegedly involving head-butting a skinhead at an anti-racist rally.

'Below The Wire' shows wit and verse - "With tightrope eyes and circus smile/ you realise the neck - below the wire...", having a dig at what he calls 'sentimental oestrogen pop'. On 'Give Me Some Vision' Robert sings "Keep on livin'/ ain't an easy decision/ no submission..." to jumping rhythms and twangy guitars, the player-piano Clifford Slapper to the fore on the blues/jazz-lite of 'Lift Up Your Name', that has some Waitsian charms, better than Rodney Stewart, the ballad and "Move your reputation baby/ move your reputation down south."  'The Bullet That Hits You' shows the dry wit again with rollin' rhythms and steel-guitar - like a buddy-talk - "As you fall into the arms of another/ you won't hear the bullet that hits ya/ a single shot for ten...".

Tenderness and mullings over mortality feature large on 'My Dying Bed', a swift-bluesy number that' be great to sing to when out on a stinker screaming to the moon - "Dance around me dance around - my dying bed yeah/ all you ghosts have gotta come come up close/ lay your sweet hands on my head," with more than a nod towards New Orleons and Bourbon Street. 'Snow Blind' and 'I'll sing Hallelujah To You' show the balladeer at work again, the choice pianist in Mr Slapper and the tight arrangements at work - like a strumming Jeff Buckley on 'Hallelujah.' 'Operator Blues' is a stand-out for its wit and rock, with run-the red-lights whispers in your ear - "My modem ain't workin'/ my mojo ain't workin'/ somebody stole my mobile/ Bill Gates ya failed me/ my girlfriend can't email me." Finishing with the late-night antics of 'She's More Rock And Roll To Me' is a natty narrative of some menacing chick you'd never take home to ya ma, the wild woman wanted in 5 States.

The album has a production warmth and charm from Casper Kendros that would go down well over dinner, coming over with an alt. country/Americana sensibility. Robert Love sings with a whiskered and whiskey drenched drawl that gives the lived-in impression of a battered and stained couch, fitting signatures to his life-lived songs, the cover featuring a well-groomed outlaw and maverick that's gonna win over some new audiences.

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