Label: Proper 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Gwyn Ashton, the proper blues guitar slinger and quite the accomplished singer I may add. "Radiogram", his latest offering to the ancient gods of rhythm and blues and the diverse guest artist roster includes everybody from Don Airey (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant, Bronco, Silverhead), Johnny Mastro (LA's Mama's Boys), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott), Mo Birch (UB40, Go West, Culture Club) to the young up-and-coming guitarist Henry Parker.
The sound level is cranked up to eleven and proves just how little rock bands needed to kick-ass in the old days. Ashton's old Fender (I believe it's the sixties version of the axe?) upfront, a hammering bass further back, the rather minimal snare based drum kit slamming in the background, and of course the occasional ebony/ivory work of Airey/Stanway. Nicely recorded in England, mixed in LA, US of A by Lost Prophets' producer Justin Hopfer and mastered by Don Bartley, who was recently commissioned by EMI to re-master the audiophile version of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"Don't Wanna Fall" reeks of the classic U.K. guitar rock and the likes of Small Faces, Yardbirds, and the very early Deep Purple. Actually, it's also similar to the compositions of Gary Moore and what he did on "Corridors Of Power" in the early eighties. "Let Me In", "Dog Eat Dog", and the instrumental piece of "Bluz For Roy", the other side of the coin as it's more towards the proper roadhouse and delta blues of the past. "Fortunate Kind" feature the odd pre-chorus 'ala early seventies Slade (!?) and Ashton are copying the Noddy Holder approach to singing. Nontheless, Joe Bonamassa-ish is probably a better and more correct description of the ingredients at play.
"I Just Wanna Make Love To You", the 1950's blues number by Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters and once again in merely a couple of weeks time have we been listening to a new cover version of the tune (see: the 'Fraze Gang' review elsewhere). This is a phat swamp groove version and not too shabby at all. "Angel" takes a breather from the aggro blues and have clearly been inspired by "Little Wing" (Jimi Hendrix). "For Your Love", more or less the filler track, and "Comin' Home" the throw-away blues bar rocker at the end of the disc. The bottomline: solid work and a very safe pick up if you're into the Ashton music and artists such as Bonamassa, etc. Simply crank up the volume and let blues rule.