|The Michael Des Barres Band - 'Carnaby Street' (Gonzo Multimedia)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Saturday, 04 August 2012 04:00|
It's 26 long years since Lord Michael Philip Des Barres last released an album, and if you read my recent ravings right here on Uber Rock about his last but one studio album prior to this all new ten track release (his one and only release with the supergroup Chequered Past back in 1984) you'll have probably guessed that I've been like a dog on heat waiting for this baby to finally drop on URHQ door mat (in fact if you stare long enough you can probably still see my drag marks on said mat).
In saying this though having also reacquainted myself with Michael's two previous solo albums via a recent bargain bin bonanza LP find at Sister Ray one rainy Saturday afternoon, I have to admit I was a little apprehensive regarding what direction 'Carnaby Street' might actually end up taking. I was never expecting an album as heavy as the aforementioned Chequered Past opus or one perhaps as raucous as anything Silverhead committed to vinyl, and never in a million years (see what I did there Des Barres fans) was I expecting a record as over budget as anything Detective ever produced, but what I was hoping for was perhaps a little bit of all of the above flavoured with what Michael is all about in 2012. So what did I get and where do I start?
Well in typical H Bombz style let's rip up the rule book and start at the end of this record because that is where any fan of Michael's more rocking work will find 'My Baby Saved My Ass' a true bombastic bastard of a track that struts out of your speakers like the Rolling Stones in their prime, all cock and balls and ready to explode in your face. So why start at the end? Well in doing this you get the track you're waiting for out of your system up front and this makes what comes next (the real first track of the album) all the more pleasing, because honestly if you are a rocker just like me what I did when I first heard 'You're My Pain Killer' was double check the CD to make sure I hadn't put on a "Des Barres sings the blues" album by mistake, such is the dramatic shift in both Michael's voice and musical direction with this lead track that I was simply left stunned.
But that's also what I love about Michael Des Barres as a singer, it's his ability to do pop, glam, hard rock, and here on 'Carnaby Street' blues and soul and still retain his unique identity as a recording artist. Okay the voice of old may be a few octaves lower, but the banshee wail of old now has a whiskey soaked edge to it that only age and maturity can bring. Just take one listen to the up vibe of the double time blue collar soul romps 'From Cloud 9 To Heartache' and 'Forgive Me' and tell me this isn't the sound of a band having an absolute blast (Michael is joined by regular band mates Paul ILL bass, Jebin Bruni keyboards, David Goodstein drums and Eric Schermerhorn for this record - and hence the "band" name). This is music to crack open a few cold ones to and simply howl at the moon to. Honestly Vintage Trouble should seriously watch their backs, as the old guard are most definitely not going to give up their rock n soul throne without at least a struggle.
Elsewhere the feelgood spirit of 'Carnaby Street' takes a funky turn with 'Sugar', whilst 'Route 69' lyrically at least leans heavily on the excesses of the Des Barres early years and yeah that really is the sound of Michael and band crossing The Faces with Detective and loving every minute of it.
As expected with an album of this musical calling there has to be a ballad, and just after the halfway mark we get the gentle refrain of 'Please Stay', and all I'll say about this tune is its simply the type of organic song/sound you get when you record and mix and album in 10 days with the only studio help coming from a few judiciously placed microphones, and you know what.... that's exactly how I like my music all rough around the edges.
Of the tracks left on the album all three are the type of rock n rollers Michael Des Barres was writing long before many of us were even born, 'Little Latin Lover' is perhaps my favourite of the trio but that's not to say 'Hot & Sticky' or the album's title cut are any the lesser in the quality department. It's just that at 2 minutes and 34 seconds in length 'Little Latin Lover' is just about as perfect a tune as you'll fine anywhere in the Überverse (c/o Mark Ashby) right now.
Look if Michael Des Barres wrote for Uber Rock and wrote reviews at the same pace it takes him to record music I guess he'd be out of a job right now. Thankfully he doesn't write reviews he just writes great rock 'n' roll music and for that he take as long as he bloody well likes to do it, just don't leave it another 26 years eh fella as you'd be 90 at that point and I don't think even ole bone crusher Jagger will be doing it then. Oh and before I do go if you are interested in purchasing this album don't do like I did and rush out and buy the first version of 'Carnaby Street' you see, instead click the Des Barres website link below and order the CD/DVD package (which is a bloody bargain at just £9.99) because the DVD contains a wealth of Des Barres goodies and is now something I'm going to have to shell out for all over again.... Doh!!!!