Home Albums Album Review : JIM KIRKPATRICK – ‘BALLAD OF A PRODIGAL SON’ (US One Records)

Album Review : JIM KIRKPATRICK – ‘BALLAD OF A PRODIGAL SON’ (US One Records)

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When it comes to hard working musicians, few work harder than Jim Kirkpatrick. Not only is he the guitarist with FM, but also, he plays with Rhinos Revenge, Bernie Marsden and the Chris Bevington Organisation to name just a few.

He can also be found playing solo gigs around the UK too. It’s hardly surprising therefore that it’s taken him fourteen years to get round to releasing another solo album.

The title track packs a punch, blending a rock backbeat with strat twang and Kirkpatrick’s warm but powerful vocal tone. His FM associate Jem Davis makes an appearance on keyboards too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qagmPz4c92w&w=560&h=315]

The next song also has an FM element to it as it was co written by the man with the golden voice, Mr Steve Overland. `No Such Thing As A Sure Thing’ is perhaps best described as ZZ Top style swagger with added cream to make it smoother! Hear it once and it will become an earworm forever!

Ain’t Gong Down Alone’ Is Blues Rock at its best. Kirkpatrick digs in with a gritty vocal and soulful soloing. Sticking in Blues mode, `Blue Heron Boulevard’ is a summertime instrumental packed with some tasty bottleneck playing, harmonica and Hammond organ.

Getting heavier comes the mighty `Be Hard With It’ that pulls out all the stops. We edge away from the Blues here and make a firm step towards Hard Rock rhythms as wah fuelled riffs meet distorted harmonics and is bound to get any crowd jumping. The harmonies and rocking groove of `Skin & Bone (Part 2)’ keep up the tempo in this addictive foot tapper.

The big production of `Always On The Road’, co-written by Bernie Marsden sees Kirkpatrick’s guitar and vocal leading a honky tonk piano courtesy of Jem Davis, a pumping bass from Mr Neil Murray and a silky horn section which gets the Rock really rolling.

Next up `61 & 49’ sees Kirkpatrick going all stateside as moonshine and slide playing meet in this lyrically brilliant piece. Chris Bevington makes an appearance on bass here too. `Talk To Me’ shows a softer side and is the closest we get to a gentle ballad here, though Kirkpatrick still manages to make his guitar sing with a blistering solo.

As soon as the first few chords of `Gravy Train’ kick in you know this is something different. A piledriving rhythm and crunchy guitar parts can only mean one thing, the Status Quo stable! In this case written by Rhino Edwards and the late, great Rick Parfitt.

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Taking a different tack, we venture towards a `Brave New World’ that oozes with Floyd esque tones and phrases that sound exciting and perfectly delivered.

The last track, `All You Need Is All You Have’ slows things down and is the kind of song where you can picture a crowd swaying and waving lighters to the beat.

There are no fillers here, every song brings with it different facets of Kirkpatrick’s multi-talented career path so far. Pulling in co-writers from the bands he is involved with has ensured there’s familiarity flowing through the album whilst keeping it fresh and vibrant.

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One thing is clear, Jim Kirkpatrick is a guitarist that doesn’t need tricks to blow you away, the feel in every note is so evident, no matter what style he is playing. What is surprising, however is that he also has a fantastic voice too. Go get this album if you love melodic Rock and the Blues, you won’t regret it!

Review by Paul Sabin for MPM

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