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Motortrain - 'Straight Six' (slambang) 4/5

Now I've always had a lot of time for the good old southern boogie stuff, I taught myself to play guitar by jamming along to the likes of Skynyrd, Grinderswitch and Molly Hatchet and I still rate Blackfoot as one of the best live bands I've ever seen on stage. Frustratingly we don't get much of it over this side of the pond and on the whole it remains a nearly completely a genre confined to the USA. Still sometimes a little of it will wind its way across the pond and wind up at BCFM central. and now ladies and gentlemen I bring you the debut mini album by Oklahoma quartet Motortrain.

I gotta say that on first impressions this is an infectious little album. It's sound is rooted firmly in southern and country rock, but its more in the rawer rock and roll vein of the likes of The Four Horsemen, Jason and the Scorchers, Georgia Satellites than the more traditional Skynyrd / Hatchet style of swamp boogie, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. There are six tracks on offer, each one a fine slice of prime good 'ole pick up driving blues fueled sleazy good time bop music, that makes you wanna crack a six pack and get down for a good boogie with yer mates at the local bar.

The opener Motortrain has a certain Blackfoot vibe to its bar room strut sound - including a Ricky Medlock style lead motif. Then we have Backyard Brawler that has a bit of a Georgia Sats air to it; Bombs Away and  Bad Girls are a bit heavier and move into AC/DC territory; Shes Hot is a great heavy sleazy along number that gives over a Black Oak Arkansas feel; whilst closer Goin, Goin, Gone is a high octane stomp that wouldn't sound out of place on a Rose tattoo record.

All in all this is a very enjoyable record. it's not very original or innovative, but what the hell, there are times when you don't wanna do anything but find some great no frills rock and boogie and just let your hair down, and this album is perfect for doing just that to. It is a good rock and roll album, it does exactly what it says on the tin, no more, no less; and in a time when so much of today rock music is full of pretentious aspirations, this one comes in like a breath of fresh air.

This one may take a bit of tracking down, but I advise you to find it and give it a go, you'll not regret it.

For Fans of... Black Stone Cherry, Georgia Satellites, Jason & The Scorchers, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo....

Todd Dillingham - 'Songcycle2011' (discofair) 5/5

Now for those of you who have not encountered the genius that is Todd Dillingham before, here's a brief history lesson for you. Todd was born into and became part of of the classic 'Canterbury Sound' movement of British psychedelia in the late 60's and early 70's. and hanging out with the likes of Camel, Caravan, Soft Machine, Gong etc it was bound to rub off. It was in a little known cult outfit called Bevis Frond that he started to cut his music teeth, then when Bevis Frond lost bassist Adrian Shaw to Hawkwind and went their seperate ways, he carried on with a number of short lived projects; but it was with the birth of the home recording boom in the late 1980's when Todd came into his own. First up there was an eponymous cassette album which won him many plaudits and rave reviews and then the flood gates opened. To date there have been over 30 Todd Dillingham albums, many featuring such luminaries of the British psyche scene as Richard Sinclair (Caravan), Adrian Shaw (Hawkwind), Andy Ward (Camel), Jimmy Hastings (Soft Machine) and Mike Wedgeward (Curved Air). Now based in Florida in the US of A Todd is continuing to bring out new material, and now we have his latest opus 'Songcycle 2011'.

Now this one starts fairly typically for a Todd album, with On the Way Home, a fine cut of chilled out acoustically lead acid psychedelia that has all the classic Todd hallmark influences in it, The Beatles, The Monkees, Caravan etc... but then things get really interesting. For second track up we hit the main body of the album the thirty two minutes long suite that is Songcycle 2011.

Basically Songcycle 2011 is a wander though Todds back catalogue, but this is no greatest hits retrospective, or best of revisited. Far from it, working with highly rated Dutch producer and musician Wim Oudijk Mr Dillingham has re-recorded and some times remixed some of his most memorable numbers including, The Chosen Few, Burning Deck and Indiana Home, blended in contributions from the likes of New York singer songwriter Debstar, cult banjo picker Pete McCabe, uke wizard Peter McPartland (The Big I Am), ex Hawkind bassist Adrian Shaw and others; and created a vast psychedelic oratorio that is breath taking in scope, and simply stunning in its realisation. Wim Oudijks orchestration is subtly done adds the perfect background and linking sections for Todds songs and the whole piece hangs together as if it was penned as a single piece of music.

As I said before all the Todd hallmarks are present and correct, we get sad plaintiff moments, some glorious acid fueled freakout moments, dashes of English folk and Americana,  some classical progressive bits, even touches of rock and roll and lots and lots of good old Canterbury influenced psychedelic trip moments. Hell, works like this are at the very cutting edge of music in general, and I'm sure that this would go down a storm if performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of next years proms season.

Add in the orchestral hidden bonus track from Wim Oudijk, which draws on Todds melodic themes and ideas and you have an album that is not only a real treat for the ears, but one of the most unique and innovative records that I have heard in long time.

Whether your familiar with Todd Dillinghams music already, or just 'Todd Curious', I can recommend this record as one that you will, buy love and treasure forever.

(But hurry, this album is limited to just 300 CD copies and a limited download period, and its selling fast, so get your copy now before its too late)

For Fans of... Caravan, The Beatles, The Pillbugs, Dog Age, This Crooked Axis etc...

To purchase this album follow this link...