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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pat Travers – Fidelis CD review
Released on Alexus Records. Available now.
You know Canadian guitarist Pat Travers is a talent that I stumbled upon back in 1979 with his excellent live album ‘Go for What You Know,’ which featured a phenomenal band alongside the man from Ontario. The band was PT himself, another flash player with the same initials in Pat Thrall who went on to record with Glenn Hughes (Hughes/Thrall) and even Asia too. He had Tommy Aldridge on drums, who went on to work with many folks including Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy and then the ever present, well at least from the first PT album through many others, Mars Cowling on bass.
Well, that line up was a long time ago and while Mars Cowling has appeared here and there, PT has generally had a much younger line up for some time now.
This new album 'Fidelis' - Strange title and stranger cover! - is Pat’s first in a while and opens after a very strange voice – Someone must’ve grabbed some kids helium balloon! - with the excellent and extremely catchy ‘Ask Me Baby,’ which on hearing the initial opening verse may not grab you, but believe me after a few plays you can really appreciate the content of this song. Great hook line riff, catchy chorus and a storming guitar solo.

Next is another grower in ‘Edge of Darkness,’ which at times is not a million miles from say the early Whitesnake blues sound. It’s a chug along blues rocker and seriously the guitar solo work is great here.
Pat Travers has discovered an excellent foil to share and play lead breaks off, in Kirk McKim who’s been a part of Pat’s band for sometime and live he takes PT’s classic solo’s to a whole new level.
‘Then I’ll Fall’ is a mid paced almost power ballad rocking track with a big chorus and some real feel again in the solo and then it takes off before the band come back in with the chorus.
With this album it’s clear PT is trying to mix things up a little with touches of his older harder rocking sound and elements of his more blues phase, but he’s brought it all up to date nicely.
He’s got a nice sound on the more ballad like ‘Josephine,’ fairly laid back and some organ backing in the mix to give it that more traditional feel and yes, plenty more classy guitar work.

A slow blues groove to ‘Save Me’ and some great gospel style backing vocals from Pat’s wife Monica Travers here.
Not to take anything away from the other players, Rodney O'Quinn (Bass / Vocals) and Sean Shannon (Drums) as well as Randy Lane who also plays drums on a couple of the track here make for a seriously tight a rhythm section as you could wish for throughout.

‘Stay’ is a much more up to date song from the man and is an excellent power ballad that could possibly spark the man a hit song if it would get the airplay. I have to say it’s serious AOR territory for PT. Class.

I guess the middle of this album is ‘slow it down’ time as ‘When I’m With You’ next follows the same trend and has fairly commercial new blues style to it.

OK back to the rock vibe with ‘I’ve Got Love To Give,’ with a kind of down and dirtier type feel, a little edgy and great groove. Love this track!

‘Tear of Love’ is a more mid paced track that runs up and down, with light and heavy touches throughout.

OK, now if you thought the strange funky intro at the beginning was weird, get this next track …! ‘Yeah, Yah.’ It is for the most part a tasty rocking blues jam, interspersed with some ‘Yeah, Yah’s’ and more thrown in for good measure.

The album closes with a more standard blues jam in ‘So Missing You,’ rounding things off.

I personally loved the older Pat Travers stuff, from his self titled debut, through Making Magic, Putting It Straight, Heat In The Street and some of his 80’s releases in Crash and Burn, Black Pearl and a few others too.
I recognize Pat’s roots are in blues, but felt he went a little too bluesy for a while.

With this new album, which I will say is a grower and not really instant, I really think he’s got something special and he’s captured a lot of all he’s done previously, while moving on to a new era.
To coin the old phrase, ‘So here to kick your ass, the Pat Travers Band!’
Indeed he’s back, perhaps not totally kickin’ hard rockin’ ass, but there’s plenty of good PT material to enjoy here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pat Travers homepage: http://www.pattravers.com/

3 comments:

  1. I didn't like it. Although the review was good journalism. Who gets credit for writing the songs on the album. I don't understand this. A whole review will be great. But the person asking questions. Doesn't ask this one simple important question. All of the journalist make this same error. Time and time again.
    sheilahsay@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. So Sheilah, what didn't you like? The album? My review? What exactly?

    Regarding who gets credit for writing the songs, you are in a minority to be honest asking this question, although if an artist has hooked up with a specific songwriter to write a whole album, then I DO typically add that at the top of my reviews ...
    You obviously don't read all my reviews?!

    For you on this album though, how's this:
    1. Ask Me Baby - P.Travers

    2. Edge of Darkness - P.Travers

    3. Then I'll Fall - P.Travers

    4. Josephine - R.Andruska, S.Thompson, P.Travers.

    5. Save Me - P.Travers, K.McKim

    6. Stay - R.Andruska

    7. When I'm With You - P.Travers

    8. Got Love To Give - P.Travers, D. Kirk McKim

    9. Tear of Love - P.Travers

    10. Yeah Yah - P.Travers, S.Shannon

    There, how's that for you?!

    ReplyDelete
  3. im listening to the cd now,,its good stuff..i like the early pat travers also..for me its a nice return to the groove of the early stuff....great review...great cd...cheers

    ReplyDelete