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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joey Molland

Return to Memphis

Review by Gary Hill

Joey Molland’s greatest claim to fame is arguably his tenure as the guitarist in Badfinger. Well, as this new disc shows, Molland also has a solo career. The music here is quite strong, most of it landing somewhere in the classic rock territory. Within that span we get more rock and roll styled music, singer/songwriter folky numbers, Beatles-oriented stuff and more. This is quite a good album. The only real complaint is that the vocals are often a bit unpolished. Still, at times that lends character and charm. At worst, it doesn’t really detract from the disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Walk out in the Rain

Combining a singer/songwriter vibe with something akin to Bob Dylan folk music, this is a soulful tune. It’s more or less a powered up ballad. It has a vulnerability early and then gets some real power and energy later as the arrangement fills out.

Build a Ship to Mars
Here we get more of a rocker. The female vocals (as they did on the previous tune) add a lot to the mix. There is a shift later in the track to a somewhat jazzy jam that’s very tasty.
Only When It Rains
This number feels like Badfinger in a lot of ways. It’s another melodic rocker and it’s quite a cool one at that. The guitar solo on this is particularly noteworthy.
Got a Feeling
A lot more of an old school rock and roll tune, this is a nice change. It’s also a lot of fun.
Yesterday
Starting with some bell chiming, this is sort of a jazz ballad tune early. From there it works out into a more rocking arrangement and it is bouncy and fun. The melody to this has some hints of ethnic music. There are some progressive rock and fusion elements in the arrangement, though. This is one of the most dynamic and involved pieces here. It works toward psychedelia at points, too. It is arguably the strongest piece on show.
All I Ever Dreamed
That singer/songwriter meets folk rock sound is back here. The arrangement gets quite powerful as this builds. It’s another winner.
Hero
A classy classic rock introduction gives way to a rock ballad sound for the first verse. During the choruses this is energetic, soulful and quite cool.
All I Need Is Love
Here Molland turns to the country side of old school rock and roll. This is a fun cut. I really love the guitar sound on this one.
Is It Any Wonder
A mid-tempo rocker, there is some Beatles in this piece. It has some psychedelia and would have felt quite at home in the late 1960s or early ‘70s. I love the melodic slide guitar that plays throughout.
Still I Love You
Piano starts the closing piece. Bass joins and brings a healthy dosage of cool with it. The tune continues to work out from there in a very classy way. This is a very classic rock based number that works extremely well. It’s another candidate for best tune of the album. That makes it a great choice for closing number. It’s a pretty straight-line approach in terms of the song construction. The arrangement, though, just keeps building and turns pretty fiery before this thing ends. It has some of the best vocals of the set, too. .
 
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