- 03 Jun 19
On A Roll Rockin' Soul
Little Miami Steven Van Zandt’s last solo record, 2017’s Soulfire, was an absolute belter, as were the two rictus-grin inducing celebrations in Vicar Street he played to promote it, including a joyous stab at U2’s ‘Out Of Control’ – did our man Steve get within an ass’s roar of the melody? Did he balls! No matter, it was a great moment. He’s on a bit of a roll as this is another roaring testimony of a true believer, a deposition from a keeper of the flame. It’s touted as his first album of original material in 20 years and it’s very much a throwback to Van Zandt’s youth. As he says himself “With this record I really wanted to travel back in time to when life was exciting. That was the felling in the ‘60s. Our minds were blown every single day.”
Opening track ‘Communion’ has more twists and turns than a Hitchcock festival. It starts off on familiar mid-seventies Boss-like territory, the backing vocals go “yeah,yeah!” and the horns soar, then the bridge changes the tempo, we get a cracking leslied guitar solo, and it goes almost doo-wop at the end. And that’s without mentioning the killer opening line “Somebody open up the door, I’m back to rock some more” – he is, and he does. ‘Party Mambo’ does exactly what it says on the tin, ‘Love Again’ is sweet-as-a-nut pop, Van Zandt pointing out with pride that he’s “got a picture of Brian Wilson that I pray to every night”, and ‘Vortex’ is a blaxploitation movie waiting to happen. There’s straight ahead rock with the magnificently titled ‘Superfly Terraplane, and you can probably guess what’s going on in ‘I Visit The Blues’.
‘Education’ dates back to 1989 and ‘Suddenly You’ was written for the Lillyhammer soundtrack, but you can’t see the join, and he creates another epic to close things out with the eight-minute title track. The forthcoming Springsteen album is a (mostly) stately, solo affair but if you’re jonesing for a bit of a more carefree rockin’ soul E-Street vibe, played with a smile by one of the very best bands around, you need look no further.