Review by Rob Stanley
When I have a ‘large’ stack of CDs to review – and I do have a large stack of CDs to review – it is not often that I keep reverting to the same CD time after time, but this CD is the exception to the rule, which is why I still have that large stack of CDs still awaiting a review.
Ron Sayer jr has been stereotyped as a ‘Blues Player’ but this is far from the truth as Better Side demonstrates perfectly. Whilst his musical roots are without doubt blues based, Ron has used this as a building block allowing him to explore other musical genres; funk, rock, jazz, soul etc. and tie them all together with his own unique style of delivery.
Kicking off the album is ‘Bad Thing’ which has a funky soul groove going on with squealing Hammond reminding me much of what the STAX record label was producing at its peak in the 70s. It is a great opening track that certainly gets your attention.
‘I Ain’t Leaving’ is probably what Ron is best known for and there are several like this on the CD. Classy slow blues number which clearly demonstrates not only modern day blues at its best, but his fantastic song writing ability too. After the opening track this was like being hit full in the face by a bucket of freezing cold water. Refreshing is an understatement.
Being a bit of an old rocker myself ‘Right All The Time’ really does hit the right note and tickle all of my tickly bits perfectly. Great vocals, some gritty guitar work, plus, plenty of room for me to join in with my air guitar. Simply perfection.
It is not all down to Ron though. He has surrounded himself with a fantastic group of musicians who perform admirably throughout ‘Better Side’. A special mention though must go to Charlotte Joyce on backing vocals who has a simply fantastic vocal presence that fits in so well within the group dynamic. The last time I was so impressed by backing vocals was Lesley Duncan on Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Impressive stuff.
Whilst possibly not the greatest album I have ever heard it definitely is the most pleasing one I have had the privilege to hear in a long long time. However, if I were going to be a little picky then I would have to comment on the inclusion of 2 covers. Whilst they do fit in perfectly, I really feel that Ron is selling himself short with their addition. From my POV I really would have liked to have seen 12 original tracks and not just the 10.
Overall, Better Side is a bloody good CD that does have a legitimate place in any music lover’s collection.
9 out of 10
- Bad Thing
- I Ain’t Leaving
- Don’t Make Me Stay
- Right All The Time
- You Can Cry
- Piece Of Me
- Your Pleasure, My Pain
- My Mother In Law
- Little White Lies
- What Would You Do
- Baby Blue