Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin


Review by Paul H Birch

Toxic Arrow Records

Reuben Archer’s been around the block. He hung round on a corner as fellow students Clapton and Relf pecked out a living in The Yardbirds and Dave Brock went busking before forming Hawkwind so it took until the NWOHM’s arrival for him to become a face on the scene, fronting Lautrec then Stampede, with his stepson Lawrence Archer on guitar. Stints in Wild Horses and Lionheart also got fitted in before the business end made him jack it in; only to return singing the blues with the Archer Marriott Band, then reform Stampede and more recently play with The Paul Raymond Project. Seventy years young he’s just released his debut solo album, and it’s a good ‘un!

Hard rock and roll, that’s heavy on the blues with some metallic guitar shredding thrown in for good measure; it’s got a solid bottom end despite a changing rhythm section that includes Thunder’s Harry James on drums and former Whitesnake Neil Murray, Climax Blues Band’s Derek Holt and Quo’s Rhino Edwards among the bass players. Throw in the likes of Y & T’s Dave Meniketti and Luke Morley guesting on guitars and we’re still only dipping into the who’s who performing on Personal Sin.

Mr Archer holds his own among rock’s liggers. Time’s given his voice a deeper baritone that’s charismatically warm, evoking the early 60s blues pop balladering of Long John Baldrey on the piano-figured ‘Time on My Hands’ and Dave Lee Roth’s humorous mannerisms come ‘TV Junkie’ and ‘Play My Rock ‘N’ Roll’ wherein spunky wailing guitars rework an old skiffle tune.

Leafing through the back pages of his life he shares joys and regrets while stoically living for the day, thus ‘Bulletproof’ opens as a big and ballsy statement of intent and the strutting chord-play of ‘Personal Sin’ points the finger at others’ foibles.  The foot-tapping ‘Spanish Nights’ has a cha-cha rock rhythm as maracas, flamenco guitars and extremely tasty electrics all weave in and out of each other with Archer singing about misfortune in love. Saxon’s Paul Quinn revs his guitar up over the mods and rockers rumble that’s the ‘Ace Cafe’ but the true leader of the pack arrives with the deconstruction of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates’ classic ‘Shaking All Over’ and its subsequent restructuring to wander through musical pastures exploring the full majesty inherent within British rock: It’s bostin’, as are the latter-day UFO stylisations on ‘Like a Clown’, the Zep-goes-Slade  ‘Sooner or Later’ and damn near everything else.

Co-written and produced by Stampede guitarist Rob Wolverson, Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin doesn’t offer anything essentially new, but consistently delivers quality with class, diversity within the form, and gives value for money with its invigorating aural entertainment.

Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin8.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Bulletproof
  2. Play My Rock ’N’ Roll
  3. Personal Sin
  4. Lately
  5. Time on My Hands
  6. Desperation Train
  7. TV Junkie
  8. Ace Cafe
  9. Spanish Nights
  10. Reuben’s Blues
  11. Shaking All Over
  12. Like a Clown
  13. Sooner or Later