Sunday, 10 June 2012

‘Speakeasy’ album review

If ever the term ‘Super Group’ applied to a band on the Mod scene, it applies to Speakeasy. Featuring Brett “Buddy” Ascott (The Chords/The Rage/Pope), Simon Stebbing (Purple Hearts/RT3), Mark le Gallez (The Risk/Thee Jenerators), Fay Hallam (Makin Time/Prime Movers/Fay Hallam Trinity) and the late, great, Mike Evans (The Action/Mighty Baby), the band came together as the ‘House Band’ for the Mod Aid 20 single in January 2005. They subsequently recorded a glorious EP at Toe Rag for Biff Bang Pow Records later that same year featuring one song each from Simon, Mark & Fay (included on this CD). Sadly Mike is no longer with us, but with Mic Stonier taking up bass duties (and Fay busy on other projects) the nucleus reassembled to record a heartfelt cover of The Actions’ “Shadows and Reflections” in tribute to Mike, and carried on to record enough material for Speakeasy to release this full length CD on the Paisley Archive imprint of Detour Records. So what is it like? There’s a real British R&B feel on some of the tracks (‘Let’s Roll’) and some great musicianship too (‘Your Precious Ways’), with a number of songs that could be contenders for A-sides of singles (‘The Blues Have Got Me’, ‘Red Wine Song’, ‘Soul Searching’, ‘Love and Understanding’) and Fay’s Hammond masterpiece, ‘Seeds’. A great album of quality songs. So far, this is my album of 2012 – Speakeasy is quite simply a super group (in every sense of the phrase).

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