Friday, March 1, 2013

Still Live reviewed by Steve Jones

Still Live
Colin Linden
Yellow Dog Records
12 tracks

This is Colin Linden’s twelfth solo album,  He’s appeared on somewhere around 350 albums.  He’s produced over 100 albums.  One would expect after three decades of music and all that work that he’d sound a bit tired and unoriginal.  Not a chance.

One cover, eleven originals.  “Who’s Been Talkin’” gets the nod here, a song the man who got him started made famous.  Linden and Spooner Oldham (organ) sell it.  It’s real, it’s fresh and it sounds great.  I would have loved to listen in to the three hour conversation that the eleven year old Linden had with Howlin’ Wolf back in the day.

“John Lennon in New Orleans” is hauntingly Lennonesque.  It describes fictional  weekend visit to New Orleans with Lennon and the singer.  Linden describes this as a cross between the Beatle and Charlie Patton.  Okay, well that is something to think about and even more to hear.  Oldham is amazing on this, as is Linden.  Gary Craig  on drums and John Dymond on bass round out the band, his old Toronto rhythm section.  Minimal yet vibrant; these guys are tight.

The finger picking on “Smoke ‘Em All” is amazing and vibrantly alive.  Linden goes it alone on acoustic guitar and he lays out traditional and clean sounding vocals.  The opening track has another great guitar solo; “Big Mouth” is a winner that hooks you from the get go.

He is expressive and soulful on cuts like “Sinking Down Slow”  and “Sugar Mine.” He’s a little more vibrant on cuts like “I Give Up” and “Between the Darkness And The Light of Day.”  No bad songs here– Linden has 11 new songs that are respectable additions to his catalogue.

Recorded live with no over dubs, this is real music done right and sounding beautiful.  The acoustics are great, the overall quality just superb.  I guess if you have made over 100 records you know how to make a CD sound good.  He does that with his artistry– there are no acoustic tricks here.

50 years old, over 3 decades in the biz; this is a guy who knows music and does it right.  Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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