Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Music Review: “If Life Was Easy” by Roger Glover and the Guilty Party


Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.

The first time through, this CD feels like a hodgepodge of styles lyrically, instrumentally and in presentation. It showcases the many styles of music that the Dee Purple bassist, Roger Glover has embraced in over forty years in pop music. If Life Was Easy by Roger Glover and his band, the Guilty Party is the first release since 2002’s  Snapshot and in a way, it feels like postcards from the road, or a travelogue from many grand tours. But, when you listen to it in it’s entirety, you’ll find some common themes that will speak to the heart and soul. We’ll get to those in a moment.

Musically, the album covers pub rock (“Don’t Look Now” ), R&B/blue-eyed soul (“Stand Together”), folk(“If Life Was Easy”) , hard rock (“The Dream I Had”), prog rock (“Feel Like A King” which is a tribute to how well it felt to be part of Deep Purple) a kind of ska/skiffle band feel in (“The Car Won’t Start”) and even what feels like a jazz tune from a speak-easy (“Get Away”) delivered beautifully by Roger’s daughter, Gillian Glover. 

Roger Glover and The Guilty Party “Get Away (Can’t Let You)” vocal by Gillian Glover

Instrumentally, there is the standard rock n roll line up, Bass – naturally, Roger is a bassist and plays a lot of fretless on this album, Drums nicely covered by Joe Bonadio (except on “Box Of Tricks” which has the skins covered by Eliot Deninburg who also co-produced the album) and guitars, Oz Noy, Nicky Moroch, and Roger. Then there are the other common instruments from rock; piano, synth/electronic keys, and Hammond Organ done nicely by Randall Bramblett – the son of Delaney and Bonnie Bramblett.

But then things start to get, not weird, but experimental. Roger plays the baglama, a kind of cross between the lute and the sitar, on one track, the opening  “Don’t Look Now (Everything Has Changed)” which for a few bars sounds like George Harrison on a Beatle’s track before morphing into a pub rock absolute killer tune. Then on the song, “Stand Together” he is joined by Deep Purple band mate, Don Airey on the pianet – a rare German made electric piano that was only made in the 60’s and 70’s that had a sound like a Wurlitzer electric but with a distinctive ‘reedy” tone. There are also guest appearance from Nazareth's Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew.

Beyond that is the diversity of musical genre and styles, and the lyrical subject matter that goes from separation, divorce, injustice, new love, uncertainty, emigration, fatherhood and the death of a loved one, what you have is the narration of a decade of turbulence and of maturing, personally and musically. It all comes off as satisfying as a banquet to a hungry man. The grand total I was left with when the last note faded at the end of these 16 tracks was much like Mark Knopfler’s best solo work; introspection, love, loss and the highs and lows of life. A very satisfying piece of work from an iconic musician.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved


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