28 December 2015
Red Morris - Lady Rose
We are back in Italy with this release, this time it is an instrumental rock album from guitarist Red Morris (aka Maurizio Parisi). Red Morris is accompanied by Claudio Amadori (drums), Beppe Premi (keyboards), Renato Mombelli (bass) and is based in Brescia. This is their first album and has been dedicated to the wife of Red Morris. According to the press release they are heavily rooted in 80's progressive rock, also taking influence from Pink Floyd, Santana, Cream & Led Zeppelin. Whilst the cover is not one that grabs your attention, it is obviously full of symbolism towards to good lady Rosa; so now it is time to see how this eight track album has turned out.....
Starting off the album is the song "Golden Angel" it begins with a synth/atmospheric entrance as the guitar starts to weep gently under the fingers of Red Morris, the drums and bass come in and you introduced to a song that sounds like it really could have been formed in the 80's and used in a Top gun sequence. For what it is, the song is well formed and performed very well; it is not to my tastes, but I appreciate the music for what it is and the time/effort that has gone into it. Next is the title track of the album - "Lady Rose". It is a slow burning song which is basically an extended solo that is playing very well and will have its own niche audience. There is a flavour of the Mediterranean/North Africa to the tone on the guitar and the rhythm of the song which gives it a vibe that sings of Summer days and Continental beer on a sea front. Again I would be doing the artist a mis-service by saying it is something I would regularly listen to, but I also find it to be well performed for what it is. The same can actually be said for "Mystery" as it appears to have been taken from the same cloths as "Lady Rose", it has a flair to the beginning of this song that is almost a sibling track to the form song. Then the song changes direction around the two minute, thirty mark as we have a spoken work section that does not quite work which is then followed by a brief jazz breakdown which is led by the keyboards and has a bass break down as well that is a harsh contrast to the beginning of the song that it feels like the natural ying to the former yang of this number - shame about the spoken word piece though, it does not work too well. Ending the first half of the album is the song "Independence" which is another shape shifter from Red Morris. It is still 80's rock with a few dashes of progressive timing to the tune, it is once more well played and you have the structure of something that could have been moulded from a cross breed of "Moonlight Shadow" and "Sweet Child O' Mine", but once again I am only able to appreciate the craft that went into this and not the end result. It is not boring me, but it is not exciting me either.
"Black Eye's" coming to us in a hail of guitars and slow synth, before the band come into play and make this song sound as if it could have been used in countless Cannon Film Company films (see 'Highlander', 'Invasion USA' and other Cannon movies for example). The guitars at the beginning have a tone which reminds me a tiny bit of Van Halen, but the rest of the song is not doing it for me once again. "Celtica" starts with a church bell and a slow, methodical tune that feels as if someone (or something) has passed and the world is in mourning. Even when the full band start to play, it feels as if a black cloud lingers over this song and it does not shake it off. There is also a medieval tone to the number through the later keyboard section. The slow pace rock here (which actually reminds me of the time the punk band Anti-Nowhere League went rock), once again does not hold me in either raptor or pain; it is just a song which is not to my own personal liking, that is performed well. The penultimate song is called "My Life Blues (Go, Go)" which has a 12-bar blue structure to the sound (it is one of the few things I remember from my musical education) and it feels a bit looser than the other track on here, like there is something of a jam going on with the number. It is the song I like the most of the collection and it sounds as if it would have been a lot of fun to make as well. Ending the album is the emotive "My Sea's Echoes" which comes across with an atmosphere that is akin to the sun setting after a long day. Much like the rest of the day, it is a song I can appreciate rather than like, I can see the time and effort that has gone into the work; with that said, it is the obvious ending song for the album.
It is a little obvious that this is an album that I would not normally listen to and will probably not be returning to any time soon, however I will say this about it. This band (and man) are doing something that most people and musicians who are in countless cover bands around that world can only dream of - releasing music that they have crafted and laboured over for hours upon hours; that is something which people sometimes lose focus on when they review work (I have been guilty of doing this myself, but sometimes it does not work). However, with that being said I was not able to find anything that I liked, there was always a detachment to my appreciation of the work behind the song. I wish Red Morris well and if you are looking for 80's inspired instrumental rock, it might give you something that I missed.
6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there
Top track - My Life Blues (Go, Go)
You can purchase the digital version of Lady Rose from Amazon here
You can find further information & follow the activities of Red Morris on Facebook here
You can stream Lady Rose on Spotify here
You can stream Lady Rose on Deezer here
You can stream Lady Rose on Tidal here
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