This is the debut solo album from punk-era legend Gary Lammin and it's been sitting on a shelf since 2003. The album was produced by legendary Sex Pistols' sound man Dave Goodman at his Mandala Studios in Gypsy Hill, South London and it's a real departure from the music Gary is normally associated with in his role as the real true leader of The Bermondsey Joyriders.
This is mainly due to the now late Mr Goodman pushing Gary to make a record which sounds different to his normal stuff and that is also the key concept Gary had for this record: it shouldn't sound like his previous work but should stand up as a proper solo album.
It opens with the short, ruminative All Opinion Will Eventually Change, which gives way to the Indian-influenced Silver White Shadow. This includes some nice tabla playing and what sounds like some shakers as well as some cool acoustic guitar. It's quite a chill-out-room instrumental.
Lost And Falling is almost like something you might expect from JJ Cale as Gary talk-sings his tale of a woman who has made him feel like he's lost and falling mainly down to the dress she wears which makes her look like a high priestess. This feels very warm and the effects-laden guitar part in the middle is really cool. It's also a little reminiscent of some of Nikki Sudden's slower songs.
Last Night I Dreamt I Met My Enemies (parts 1 & 2) has some bayou-style guitar with some shakers and minimal percussion to make it seem like said enemies are swaggering down the street towards Gary and ready for some sort of low-down dirty fight but they're not sure if it's worth the effort. The music falls away and builds again quite effectively before the vocals come in and tell a similar tale, well except that Gary shakes his enemy by the hand.
Value has a nigh-on dance-pop feel to the music as Gary croons over the music about a lost love who has gone from his life. I really like the bongos and tablas that are under the guitars and also the big cymbal crashes that come into the tune every once in awhile.
The next two songs feature vocal takes finished after Dave Goodman's death at Dirty Strangers legend Alan Clayton's Shepherds Bush studio. Take More Care is as stripped back an acoustic folk song as you could want with Gary's bruised vocals over the acoustic slide guitar sounding quite angry. This is a very effective tale of being road-bound and struggling to keep everything together. Again the sparse percussion works as a good accent to emphasise what's going on in the lyrics.
Is that Alright By You almost sounds like Gary is trying to make a west coast ballad of the sort James Taylor normally sings with some nice piano underneath the laid back guitar work as Gary asks if That's alright by you. Well this tune is fine by me.
Memo To Anita is a sort of update to Memo For Turner with some delicious slide guitar and vocals. It's about the closest Gary gets to sounding like he does in the Bermondsey Joyriders as he sings "You've got it and it's happening." It's also one of several nods to the film Performance that are scattered through the album.
They then bring in the album's big guest star for Hey Mr John Sinclair. It not only stars John Sinclair but also a couple of great backing singers in Funky Del and Yasmin. This is funky and cool with a compelling rap from Mr John Sinclair on a song that really should be on a 12" single with a couple of well-chosen remixes. Mr John Sinclair tells us all not to be scared and it's worth getting the album just to own this song!
The record closes as it started with the full version of All Opinion Will Eventually Change; only this version is string laden and full of ominous foreboding as Gary tells us what he thinks is going to help us know how to feel to get through the troubles life throws up. It's almost like he wants to sound like Leonard Cohen on this song. It's quite a wistful end to a very cool and interesting album and Dave Goodman certainly got something different out of Gary Guitar Lammin.
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