Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ricky Warwick - Stairwell Troubadour (2015)

Genre - Rock / Acoustic
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Dead or Alive cover)
02 - Oops!...I Did It Again (Britney Spears cover)
03 - Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
04 - 1000 Dollar Car (The Bottle Rockets cover)
05 - Cocaine Blues  (Johnny Cash cover)
06 - I Don't Want To Grow Up (The Ramones cover)
07 - I Fought The Law (The Bobby Fuller Four cover)
08 - Burning Love (Elvis Presley cover)
09 - Jesus Loves You....But I Don't (The Almighty cover)
10 - Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover)

So Ricky Warwick returns with his fourth album release of 2015! (the other three are the rather excellent Black Star Riders 'Killer Instinct', and the previous two solo albums, 'Hearts On Trees' and 'When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchel Sang The Blues)').
This album, The Stairwell Troubadour came about as a result of just how well Ricky's previous pledge campaign went over, especially the exclusive performances of songs from the stairwell, hence the albums title!
OK so this album is a covers album, but its a cover album with a unique twist. Firstly as part of its pledge campaign, the fans (or pledgers) got to vote upon what songs would actually be covered for the album, and secondly, Ricky and crew manage to put their definitive stamp upon each of the songs presented here, whilst still managing to remain true to the spirit or essence of the original.
First up the album opens with the Dead or Alive classic, 'You Spin Me Round'. This song features the talents of Ricky on guitar and vocals and Tim Boland on  Electric Guitars, Keyboards and Percussion. Here Ricky really manages to capture the energy and essence of the song, especially with the panning effect on the chorus!
Next up we have a song that Ricky has performed many times at his acoustic live shows, once again Ricky handles the guitar and vocals with Tim Boland again providing the drums. They manage to pull off a really rocking version of Britney Spears' 'Oops! I did it Again' in the process, especially with the electrified midsection!
The cover of the Eddie Cochran classic, 'Summertime Blues' follows, again with Ricky handling all guitars and vocals with Tim Boland once again providing drums and percussion. Here they really do manage to bring this old classic to life, injecting the song with bucket loads of energy. I really love this  track!
Next up we have Ricky's take on The Bottle Rockets classic '1000 Dollar Car'. Again this track is just a two man affair with Ricky providing all guitars and vocals and Tim Boland providing  the Hammond, Vibes and Snare. They guys really do manage to capture the heart and soul of this song, with its seeming to pour out emotion. Another great song. The guys tackle a Johnny Cash classic next with their take on 'Cocaine Blues'. Once again Ricky handles all the guitars and vocals and Tim Boland provides the Upright Bass. Its a great cover and proof positive that Ricky could well be the modern day Johnny Cash!
Up next is the guys take on The Ramones classic, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up'. Once again Ricky covers all the guitars and vocals with Tim Boland providing the songs percussion. Here the guys really do manage to capture the angst of the original, whilst managing to show a certain amount of restraint and slowing the song just enough to make the marching beat work. Love it!
Next Ricky tackles The Bobby Fuller Four classic ' I Fought The Law' in true solo fashion. I love this cover of this anthemic song. Ricky really does seem to tap into the songs soul here!
Ricky tackles the Elvis Presley classic 'Burning Love' again in true solo fashion. A great performance it is too!
Next up we have a strange one, where Ricky covers one of Ricky's own classic's in the form of The Almighty classic, 'Jesus Loves You....But I Don't'. Now this has always been one of my favourite Almighty songs. Here Ricky manages to capture the real power of the song with Ricky once again covering all vocals and guitars and this time Tim Boland providing the Piano and Percussion. The song manages to keep building in tension and atmosphere without ever bursting into that fill blown rock big band section, instead using the piano to provide the power. Absolutely cracking version of the song, quite possibly even better than the original!
The album closes out with a cover of the Iron Maiden classic 'Wrathchild'. Here Ricky who provides all the songs vocals is joined by Mark Thwaite who provides all of the guitars within the song. Its so surprising that this Iron Maiden, famous for its angst power and energy, works so well in an acoustic format!
Ricky and Mark really do manage to capture and convey the true essence of the song here!

Stairwell Troubadour is a great covers album, with Ricky showcasing just how much he understands the songs that he is covering.

Very, very highly recommended!

Rating - 10/10

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