Singer /Songwriter Greg Coulson blew me away when I saw him perform at HRH Blues in Sheffield earlier this year and so I was keen to hear if the energy and vibrancy demonstrated in his live performance would come across in a studio recording.
Multi-instrumentalist Coulson, despite his tender years, is highly respected with an impressive career to date including spells in the West End in ‘Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined’ and as a member of two tone band The Selecter but after seeing him perform, his heart seems to be firmly planted in the blues.
So, to the album. Listening through each track first time there is no disputing the guys abilities, the music is packed full of energy and has evidence of pure funk and groove firmly holding hands with rock and roll and wrapped up in a lovely big blanket of blues. None of the tracks stood out hugely during this first listen, I think I was focussed more on the overall feel of the 9 tracks and the fun feel of the album.
Second listen through and I was definitely drawn to a couple of songs. ‘10/10’ has an old school rock and roll vibe to the music and a repeating riff which eats into your ears and jives around your brain. An enjoyable song delivered very well. ‘Girls’ opens with horns and a more blues feel from the get go. Catchy chorus and a more dominant Hammond give the track an interest. ‘Stitch Me Up’ has a slower tempo and more funk than the earlier tracks. An easy laid-back vocal showing the diversity Coulson can bring to his music. Back to the rock and roll vibe with ‘Love Nest’, predominant guitars and buckets full of melded rhythm.
‘What’s New?’, the title track of the album and rightly so, this is the sound I remember from Coulson’s live performance, full of energy and catchy lyrics plus an infectious melody, it’s a sure fire winner. Great track which includes some nice Hammond sections. ‘Someone To Be There’ opens with a chugging rock and roll passage which fills out with the Hammond and continues with the complexity of the arrangement but maintaining oodles of swagger.
‘End Of The Line’ allows Coulson’s vocal to play a more dominant role – a huge range and very clean feel to the delivery, you can almost hear him smiling as he sings. A nice grimy guitar riff flows to the front of the music adding more to an already interestingly good track.
‘Ran Out And Ready’ brings another dose of funk. Fuzzy riffs and lashings of Hammond make this the best track on the album in my opinion. The final song is ‘Sick Note’ sliding in a final dose of fun with rich mountains of melody and serious amounts of guitar. A fabulous closing track which brings together the variety and diversity of the tracks.
The album on a whole does capture the energy and vibrancy of Coulson’s personality and the professionalism of the band is clearly heard. There is an air of confidence to the music with the complexity of the arrangements and there is a clear identity and direction to the songs. I really enjoyed this one, a fresh feel to traditional rhythm and blues.
Stitch Me Up
Someone To Be There
End Of The Line
Ran Out and Ready
Greg Coulson – Vocals, Guitar, Hammond
Stuart Dixon - Guitar
Roger Inniss - Bass
Adam Gammage – Drums
The Flatpack Horn Company
Dani Wilde - Backing vocals