Feeling a bit blue, chum? In need of a pick-me-up? Never fear, Dr Cameron has just the tonic. Get your ears around Cut And Run, the latest outing by the Chris Bevington Organisation – positively one of the most upbeat, good time albums so far this year.
Bassist Chris Bevington may have his name on the tin, but in terms of musical direction he’s got some top quality accomplices in the shape of multi-instrumentalist, producer and hit songwriter Scott Ralph, working in tandem with FM honcho Jim Kirkpatrick. Between them this pair have not only turned out twelve indecently enjoyable original songs, they’ve also collaborated on production and mixing to give them a vibrant, knock your socks off sound.
|"Look lively, there's a snapper!"
Regardless of the Ralph/Kirkpatrick axis though, this is an ensemble affair in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You want reference points? Now and then the sound puts me in mind of a YouTube clip I saw of Clapton doing Freddie King’s ‘Tore Down’ with a big band. Other times – bearing in mind that Jim Kirkpatrick is a frequent collaborator with Bernie Marsden – it suggests nothing so much as early Whitesnake blues-rock with horns.
The Clapton reference is relevant right from the off, as ‘It’s My Life’, with its rattling rhythm and harmonised guitar riffing, recalls one of my favourite Clapton recordings, ‘Motherless Children’. And there are several more tracks to make you shake yer booty thereafter, starting with ‘Got To Know’, a tale of a “one time woman with a one track mind” on which Adrian Gibson’s trumpet and Mike Yorke’s sax really take flight for the first time. Later, ‘Rollin’’ features a grabbing, spiky riff and a knuckle-dusting guitar solo. Best of all in the party mode though, is ‘Coming Down With The Blues’, a rollicking effort with a squawking trumpet solo from Gibson, injections of sax, and sassy backing vocals from Sarah Miller and Kate Robertson – the ladies’ contribution being as polished as you might expect from alumni of the Steely Dan tribute outfit Nearly Dan.
The Chris Bevington Organisation have more strings to their bow though, evidenced by the ballad ‘Won’t Daydream No More’, with its exquisite melody initially underpinned by sensitive backing vocals and Dave Edwards’ organ. And there’s more variety in the likes of ‘Sing Myself To Sleep’, which swings as woozily as the title suggests, and also the title track, which opens somewhere down the Mississippi with a megaphone-style vocal before rousing itself into something more raunchy, with some nifty slide playing from Kirkpatrick. Meanwhile the engine room of Bevington on bass and Neil McCallum are especially to the fore with the lurching, offbeat rhythm of ‘Had Enough’, and the tub-thumping ‘Ain’t Got Nobody To Love’ with its urgent, stabbing horns.
Cut And Run is an album packed with good tunes, all delivered with energy, brio, and what you will, courtesy of some great playing and singing from all concerned. It has variety, but it’s still tied together beautifully, courtesy of the arrangements and production. I’m even impressed by the different-from-the-rest cover art – no geezers with guitars pics, but instead a continuation of the sequence of run-down building photos from the earlier albums.
If you want to listen to some ground-breaking piece of innovative music-making then forget it. But if what you’re after is something to loosen your limbs at the end of the daily grind, then get in line – this is what fun sounds like, folks!