Monday, February 27, 2012

Sands of Time by Ball n Chain reviewd by Jefferson Airplane author Craig Fenton

Ball ‘n’ Chain- “Sands Of Time”

Although Joe Black has recorded sporadically over the decades his calling card was left early and impassionedly. The early 1980’s band Balloon spearheaded with radio play in many sections of the country (“East Coast/West Coast” and “Listen To The Rock”) made many take note of the kinetic bassist Joe Black.

When Balloon would run its course the high energy rock and roll outfit Ball ‘n’ Chain was born. “Seeing Red” and “Diamonds In The Rough” became must own releases for those into high energy rock. The sound a creative concoction of what Aerosmith released during the first four records along with doses of Foghat, J. Geils, and Humble Pie stands enduringly and boastfully yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The long anticipated and overdue new CD “Sands Of Time” from Ball ‘n’ Chain finally saw the light of day in 2011. Joe Black and company haven’t lost a step or should I say a lick. Never let the mention of 1980’s rock conjure up the nightmare images of the all hair and no talent bands. Ball ‘n’ Chain” rocks hard as well as early and often without a concern for an appearance on an over-produced and under talented music video.

The opening notes of the first track “Strokes” is a cloudless presentation of straight ahead rock that takes you by the throat and refuses release. The current line-up Joe Black bass, vocals, and scrubboard, Art Knyff guitar, dobro, lapsteel, and vocals, John Billy Wooldridge drums, vocals, and percussion, Jeffrey Baker lead vocals and assorted tedism, and Tom D’Amico keyboards kept their eyes on the prize. The reward is a ten track solid effort that disallows even a millisecond disguised as a boring note.

“Cryin Shame” the third selection offers a false sense of security with a softer intro only to step full throttle a bit later knocking our heads into a brick wall. As the CD reaches the final tune “Don’t Play With Fire” the listener’s only concern should be “Don’t Let This Be The Last.”

For a look into the past and a sneak peak into the future check out Joe Black’s website

The review is in memory of former Ball ‘n’ Chain member Dale Latulippe along with ninety-nine other innocent concert goers who left the planet way too early because of the tragic fire February 20th of 2003 at The Station, West Warwick , Rhode Island during the Great White performance.

All the best,
Craig Fenton
Author- Jefferson Airplane “Take Me To A Circus Tent”
Jefferson Starship “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”

Kenny Selcer- “Don’t Forget About Me.”

Kenny Selcer’s wondrous recorded musical odyssey should be celebrating two decades right about now. In a roughly seven year period Kenny with Jill Stein and band released four CD’s (three under the moniker Somebody’s Sister).

Their refusal to compromise artistic integrity for multiple Benjamin Franklin’s earned them respect and admiration throughout New England . Their sound of folk-rock and beyond without falling into preconceived boundaries was rare then as it is today.

Kenny’s stronghold in the region includes time with Shazam, String Bean, the Knuckles, and the Kenny Selcer Band.

In 2011 he released “Don’t Forget About Me.” An intriguing title to say the least due to the nature of those that have heard him perform couldn’t help but remember. The latest work has a myriad of musicians playing a plethora of sounds. While others may fall into the trap of too many cooks competing for the main course Kenny has accommodated us not only with traditional instruments but the added layers of congas, mandolin, and pedal steel. Never once do the ears find the need to hide for cover because of a sub-par mashing of sonic sounds. Ken’s hands-on approach (he produced the recording and was the co-engineer) has allotted for each person to be able to breathe without suffocating the listener.

Imagine David Bromberg, Jackson Browne, early Donovan, Steve Forbert, Tom Petty, and Paul Simon percolating in a room. That paints a clearer picture of Ken’s latest material. Further accented by his own copyright stamp the results are pure pleasure from the opening tune (the title cut) to the finale (which by the way ends with the reprise).

Along the way the songs blend together effortlessly. Ken has always closed his eyes to the so called rules of recording. He doesn’t consult a manual to come up with a cookie-cutter effort that would not only disappoint the legion of followers but make gazing in the mirror a permanent hardship. An indication of Ken following his own path is the sequencing of the songs. Tracks six through eleven “Colors”, “I’m Goin’ Back”, “I Would Be With You”, “In An Instant”, “With You”, and “Colors” (reprise) would normally be the opening tunes for the artist not wanting resistance from the record company or they may be the final but Ken’s idea to have such tenacious tunes in the middle shows an unyielding confidence that the material placed at the beginning and end are more than adequate to anchor the ocean liner.

Not many are worthy of possessing a 1959 Fender Stratocaster but Kenny Selcer has earned his six string stripes many times over.

After purchasing the CD (learn more hear explore his website for some striking live covers including one from the Beatles and another from Simon & Garfunkel. Taking on a Paul McCartney and Paul Simon composition is about as easy as paying a mortgage without owning a home. As he has done all these years Ken is able to accomplish the mission his way.

All the best,
Craig Fenton
Author- Jefferson Airplane “Take Me To A Circus Tent”
Jefferson Starship “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”



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