Label - Shrapnel Records
01 - Everything, Everything
02 - The Witch
03 - Sugar Mama
04 - The Sound
05 - Jealous of the Rain
06 - Painted Lady
07 - Taste Your Fear
08 - Feathers In a Hurricane
09 - Long Way To Heaven
10 - One
11 - Saginaw Blues
12 - Backside of the Moon
13 - Without You
14 - Space and Time Collide
Tracii Gunns is a rock & roll survivor, its as simple as that. He's toured the world and left his signature with Guns & Roses and LA Guns, Killing Machine and Brides Of Destruction, and to be fair, when push came to shove, he manned up, wished them well and never looked back. Last year there were two versions of LA Guns were touring at the same time. In the end, Tracii did what he needed to do, he walked away from the fray and fashioned a new vehicle for his creative juices to flow.
The League Of Gentlemen was born, and their debut CD "The First Record" is among us, a new venture for Tracii Guns' astonishing eclecticism.
Well, the man has produced a more than interesting recording which it isn't so retro after all. This is Classic Rock with some blues and psychedelic-flavored hard clearly inspired in the seventies, but it sounds quite organic and updated in terms of sound.
Tracii's guitar tends to drive the proceedings, yet not in flashy way. Sure, there's a lot of six-string work to be found, including some cool solos, but I wouldn't call it a guitar-oriented album. Instead, the focus is on the songs, and to be honest, the songs are pretty darn good.
The Gentlemen are all competent musicians, such as drummer Doni Gray (ex-Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds) and rather than try to recruit the next Vince Neil, Tracii has enlisted a ravishing vocalist in Scott Foster Harris, who not only sounds really great, he also writes good damn lyrics and music too.
"The First Record" travels many of the paths tread by some of the rock legends of the last 40 years in music.
It manages to combine elements of Yardbirds, Zeppelin, The Who, The Doors, Floyd, Cream, and of course, the Gentlemen's own style. There's even some '80s moments in the midtempo first single "The Sound".
The album kicks off with a very Doorsy/Creamy "Everything, Everything", a good opening with a nice groove. The album continues in such a vein, whilst showing more eery and trippy portions during "The Witch" and the slow "Feathers In a Hurricane" (solid solo here). "Painted Lady" with its old fashioned organ and piano parts, would not be out of place on FM radio's heavy rotation forty years ago.
A great standout track is "Jealous Of The Rain", the only song penned solely by Scott Foster Harris. His voice sounds phenomenally strong and passionate throughout. The album continues through with variation, as on the slightly proggy "One", the Hammond infused "Backside of the Moon", and the masterfully written "Saginsaw Blues" where all members find room to jam, especially Tracii, showcasing his tasteful playing and the fact he isn't just another '80s guitar hero.
Tracii Guns has definitively left behind L.A. Guns, and his new expressive vehicle is called The League Of Gentlemen.
"The First Record" is a classic rock affair with many, many influences, but truly personal and with its own identity.
Kudos to Mr. Guns for this brave move, as this new project opens new doors for his recognized fine tuned craft and let us know (and enjoy) another of his multiple facets.
The man this time has picked up an ol' good Telecaster instead of a tremolo-mounted modern guitar, and he does good.
Rating - 10/10
Tracii Gins' League Of Gentlemen are:
Tracii Guns - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Scott Foster Harris - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
John Bird - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Craig McCloskey - Bass, Backing Vocals
Doni Gray - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals