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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mickey Thomas – Marauder album review

Mickey Thomas – Marauder album review
Released on: Gigatone. Release date: Available now.

Mickey Thomas has one of those voices that has been so slick and smooth that it's hard to knock and I for one, never could or would ever want to either!

I love the man's work first with Jefferson Starship - Who could forget the killer 'Jane?!' - and then with the simply named, Starship.
He has had a few solo albums out in the past and here's the latest.
'Marauder' is a collection of cover tunes that .., well, he just felt like covering!  

Opening track ‘Gimme Shelter’ starts slow, kind of too laid back for my personal liking and basically it maintains the same level of pace throughout. It really could’ve done with picking up somewhere if you ask me, but there you go.

 Next up is Mickey’s interpretation of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ – Not a favourite song of mine in the first place. – and to be honest he stays pretty close to the original tracks pace here and all the special effects throughout, follow the same kind of path as Gabriel, so all things considered, it’s alright.

Now Wings track ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ was always one of my favourite, Paul McCartney post Beatles songs and Mickey throws an interesting twist here and it’s a little different, but it works OK. Traditionalists will no doubt raise their own reservations.

Well, my old friends back home in the UK would tell you that put simply, I never liked Oasis. The attitude of the (Noel and Liam) Gallaghers, did nothing win my approval at all. To be honest in the position they were in, they could’ve made themselves a lot more popular, if they could’ve just kept to playing the music.
‘Champagne Supernova’ I think gets a great makeover from Mickey, quite different if you ask me and I like it.

For me growing up in England, I always felt that the Beatles were overplayed to be honest – Just my personal take. – but ‘Rain’ presented here was one song that was never one of those overplayed tunes and so in this case, it’s a good choice of a Beatles song to bring up to date. I think Mickey’s done it alright too.

Interesting choice for the next track, which is Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ and I really haven’t been a fan of the band, but this EMO / power pop style track in this instance was always OK by me.

Another Lennon / McCartney number next in ‘Across The Universe’ which is a fine example of the kind of style that E.L.O.’s Jeff Lynne was so much drawn to and influenced to write like. Mickey does a very respectable interpretation here.

Mickey then picks another British band to cover with the Muse song ‘Supermassive Black Hole.’
Guess Mickey’s more open to some of that style than I am.  Interesting … I guess I’ll leave it there …

All power to Mickey for covering next song ‘Voices,’ a great song from the immensely talented songwriter Russ Ballard, that had a certain amount of video success back in the 80’s.
It presented in a similar, although not the same way as the original and it’s alright by me.

I think Mickey went a little bit overkill on the Beatles covers on here, as here’s another in ‘Oh Darling.’ Not really partial to this number, so swiftly moving on …

‘Delta Lady’ was a song written by Leon Russell, way back when and also covered by Joe Cocker and this version with Mickey’s voice has a much more melodic vocal, so to many it may come across as a little wimpy perhaps.

The Bob Seger tune ‘Hollywood Night’s’ was actually the first tune that got me into his music, so it holds a special place for me and it’s perhaps not as powerful from Mickey, but I still like it.

A little fun sounds like it was had in the performance of Tom Cochrane’s (Red Rider) ‘Life Is A Highway,’ here, but sadly the rapping here kills it for me. Yuck, done …

Wow! An AC/DC cover next in ‘Moneytalks!’ Any fan of Mickey’s will already know that his voice is a million miles from Brian Johnson, so it’s an interesting one. Good try though Mickey, perhaps a little too cabaret type performance though, almost getting close to say how Jimmy Barnes sounds, so not too bad!

‘Tempted’ from Squeeze was always a good song in anyone’s books to be honest. Nice laid back number from the former New Wave band, that became extremely poppy. Mickey stays pretty true to the original here too.

Back to the Beatles theme with final track ‘Wah Wah,’ from George Harrison’s solo album ‘All Things Must Pass.’
Perhaps a nice tribute from Mickey to George (RIP) to be honest and that wraps things up.

It’s not a great album in my eyes, it has moments that I really enjoyed, some nice guitar work here and there but not knowing which of the many musicians associated with the album played on what, I can’t credit the right guys.
Mickey’s voice here is presented in a very safe manner, I was perhaps one of the few out there who enjoyed his 2004 release ‘Over the Edge,’ and to be honest, I long for new Starship material.

Perhaps he’s suffering from writers block, who knows, anyway, it’s well sung, but it leaves me wanting to be honest.

Rating: 3 out of 5
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