A joyride through a long lost album
It had appeared that this, the debut solo record from Bermondsey Joyriders frontman Gary Guitar Lammin, was never going to the see the light of day.
Mostly recorded around the turn of the millennium at the legendary Mandala Studio’s by the famed punk rock producer the late Dave Goodman (he of the much-bootlegged Sex Pistols pre “Never Mind The Bollocks” demos). After his death in 2005, the record had lain dormant for over a decade until Lammin was convinced to finally air the collection by Goodman’s family.
You’ll be glad he listened to them.
But don’t whatever you do expect a punk rock album. Lammin himself has said that he can’t see why people do solo albums that sound like the band stuff (this is commonly known as the “Rob Zombie” effect). In fact, it is quite a challenge to describe adequately or otherwise the sheer depth of this material.
The ten songs here veer from instrumentals like the laid back “Silver White Shadow” to out and out psychedellica, like the gorgeous and lilting “Lost And Falling” to something that is even more left field, the best example of which is “Memo To Anita” which combines delta blues with electronica and a series of almost blank verse lyrics.
The chance taking here stands as an almost an epitaph to Goodman, who is said to have told Lammin he’d only produce him if he left his comfort zone behind. The pair have constructed a record that has echoes of the Stones at their most laid back and wilful “Last Night I Dreamt I Met My Enemy Parts 1 and 2” drinks from that particular well, as does “Is That Alright By You” which benefits from a brilliant use of Organ and a slow-building crescendo of a drum beat.
Perhaps the best of the lot, though, is one of the most simple. “Take More Care” has a weather-beaten Keith Richards solo record feel, but its world weary country strum is almost perfect in the context here.
You sense, though, that the people that made it had the most fun on “Hey Mr. John Sinclair” which casts the MC5 Manager and counter culture hero as more than just the eponymous hero. He delivers the lyrics in his understated way and the gleeful soul track is mighty fine.
Bookending the collection are “All Opinion Will Eventually Change”. Split into two parts, it’s brooding intentions are quite unlike anything else here – although in fairness you can say that about the other eight tracks too.
Never less than compelling, “Gary Guitar Lammin” is a kind of kitchen sink collection. Everything is chucked in. Some work better than others, obviously, but when it is good it verges on the downright brilliant and whatever it does