Terry Reid: Live in London
Terry Reid's website is aptly called "a life in music." The British singer/songwriter/guitarist, who was once managed by Mickey Most and who was once offered frontman positions for the New Yardbirds (Led Zeppelin) and Deep Purple, has had an extraordinary career as everything from sideman to solo artist. The latter resulted in four studio albums by the 1980s. Reid eventually relocated to the US, but he enjoyed the tradition of returning to Ronnie Scott's nightclub in London where he performed in an intimate setting.
His latest album, 'Terry Reid Live in London', is a double CD, which captures a particularly special night in August of 2010 at this legendary club. 'The Frame' opens the fourteen-track album. Though it is more than ten minutes long, it is catchy, funky and energetic. Reid's clever phrasing enhances the toe-tapping central theme. 'Faith to Arise' and 'Time is a Virtue' boast a mournful, expressive pedal steel. Because it was a live album, Reid prefaced many of the tunes with anecdotes that, honestly, might have meant something during the performance, but now often detract from the flow of the album.
"Super Lungs," as Reid has been affectionately called, has a distinct voice and his writing is sound, but sometimes his craft is easy to dismiss as the styles on the album are somewhat scattered. Nevertheless, 'Rain in the Red Lights' which could have been written by Willie Nelson due to its honesty and detail ("Couldn't see a yard away...") and 'Too Many People' are solid renderings. 'Leaving and Gone,' a cover by J.D. Souther, is one of the more exceptional vocal studies on the first of two discs. 'River,' another original, which Reid wrote about the time he left the UK, is an excellent vehicle for scat, undulating rhythms and some fine instrumental solos. At almost nineteen minutes long, it is definitely ambitious, but polished.
Side 2 begins with a cover of Brian Wilson's 'Don't Worry Baby'. It's a far cry from the Beach Boys version, but a good attempt at creative interpretation. Reid revisits some of his signature tunes like 'Seed of Memory', 'Rich Kid Blues' and 'Night Of The Raging Storm.' His cocktail lounge version of D. Mann and B. Hilliard's 'Wee Small Hours' is especially touching because on it Reid's vocals sound relaxed and the overall performance evokes nostalgia - kudos to David Tench for his brilliant comping and solo work.
Besides Tench, the line-up consists of Ash Soan (drums), BJ Cole (pedal steel),Dzal Martin (guitar) and Lee Pomeroy (bass). These players do a great job of supporting Reid while fashioning their individual talents throughout.
In essence, this is a good collection that could have benefitted from some post production editing. Regardless, Reid is an artist that remains true to his art and Ronnie Scott's nightclub is legendary. With that combination, how can you miss?