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by Stephen Moore
Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals and BBC Radio legend fires off his first solo record, and delivers a few surprises.
Roping in lifelong musician buddies from on-off project the Tangiers Blues Band, and the drummer from his Fun Lovin’ Criminals among others, cult favourite Huey Morgan set about his debut solo record.
As fans of his BBC radio shows might guess, it’s a broad affair reflecting Morgan’s tastes.
The taut, funky bounce of Stick It To The Man opens the set, lyrics growled by Morgan over groovy guitar that wouldn’t be out of place on a Criminals record.
Followed by the gritty guitar lick of Dirty Bird, dressed with noodling ‘80s synth, Morgan sounds relaxed, if not exactly creatively stretched.
Let My People Go and its funky beat is irrepressibly cool, with flashes of garrulous attitude, but his softer side gets a good outing too.
His throaty delivery almost turns to a profanity-littered purr on The Way It Was Before, while country-western workouts Fall Into Me and Christmas By The Side Of The Road, about a soldier stranded in the snow, 55 miles from home, are surprisingly cringe-free croons.
Having relocated to the UK in the mid-2000s, Say It To My Face is drenched in references to his native NYC, epitomised on the rollicking harmonica-addled, gospel choir-backed New York Bluez.
That it’s one of many highlights is a testament to Morgan’s talent.