Rick Bryant and the Jive Bombers: The Black Soap from Monkeyburg (Red Rocks)

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Rick Bryant and the Jive Bombers: Rum Jungle
Rick Bryant and the Jive Bombers: The Black Soap from Monkeyburg (Red Rocks)

It's widely acknowledged Rick Bryant has one of the country's best soul-blues voices.

Or more correctly – on the evidence of this collection, most co-writes with guitarist Gordon Spittle – did have.

Here his voice is frequently a lesser and often shredded version of what it once was, his range fraying at the edges and only rarely does he bring the fire or emotion that was a hallmark of his best work with the Jive Bombers or the Windy City Strugglers.

Additionally many of the songs are lumbered with vapid lyrics which either lean on cliches or just sound clumsy (the lumpy title track, Red Meat and Bad Behaviour).

Pity, given Bryant has considerable life experience to draw on. It's hard to invest hoary lines like “a good woman is hard to find, give you peace for your body, peace for your mind, take you to the river, all down the line” with much engagement.

Sadly, aside from perhaps the opener I Know What To Do you suspect nothing here would make it onto any “Best of Rick Bryant” collection.

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angelaS - Jun 10, 2013

yes, I was very disappointed at a recent gig when he and the Black Soap boys were support for Taj Mahal. Their performance was painful and dreary and Bryant's voice and delivery wasn't appealing either. I had seen him with Windy City Strugglers a few years ago and loved their performance. Sad.

Edmund McWilliams - Jun 15, 2013

Hey Graham Reid, NZ Herald album reviewer, this is why you are a cock:

Rick Bryant is a 65 year-old man with Chronic illnesses. He came out of prison recently where he served 12 months for selling pot to half the entertainment industry (not to mention half the old skool j
ournalists) in central Auckland. A drug you may not like, but it seems to appeal to creative degenerates worldwide, journalists included (just).
This album was obviously important to him on a number of levels, including being able to sell it. Why did you not just walk away from the review? Is the musical evalution you've written and had publsihed more crucial than the protecting the earnings of someone you appear to simultaniously admire? Puzzling. You're not writing for The New Yorker dude, this is Auckland and you basically just shat in your own arse.

If it's a personal vendetta of some description, I'd love to hear it. Look forward to your review of my next album too cocksucker.

Edmund McWilliams - Jun 16, 2013

And while your at it, I think you should at least amend that "2 star" rating to one star. Because you're giving him one star for the album, plus you're giving him one star for the beers you've had with him on several occasions. NZ.

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