Gary John Barden – Rock ‘N Roll My Soul (2010)

Gary John Barden – Rock ‘N Roll My Soul (2010, Inakustik)

  1. Oh Well
  2. I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘n Roll Band)
  3. Never Before
  4. When A Blind Man Cries
  5. Let’s Work Together
  6. Why Did You Do It
  7. I’m A Man
  8. Stay With Me
  9. Travellin’ Band
  10. The Long And Winding Road
  11. Zeit macht nur vor dem Teufel halt
  12. Rock ‘n Roll My Soul

The Players:
Gary Barden – Vocals
Michael Voss – Guitars, Drums, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Don Airey – Piano & Orchestration (Track 10)
Ian Ward – Harp (Track 5)
Tommy Denander – Lead guitars (Track 6)
Axel Urban – Keyboards (Tracks 5, 8, 12)
Steffi Stephan – Bass (Tracks 5, 9)
Matthias Rethmann – Bass
Barend Courbois – Bass (Track 8)
Pearl – Backing Vocals (Tracks 3, 7, 8)
Andrea Beusker – Backing Vocals (Track 11)
Ferdy Doernbrg – Keyboards (Tracks 4, 7)
Wayne Findlay – Hammond Organ & Piano (Track 3)
Molly Duncan – Saxophone (Tracks 6, 9)

Produced by: Michael Voss & Gary Barden

Country: United Kingdom

Total Time = 42:32

(no official website)

Current Michael Schenker Group vocalist Gary Barden has a new solo album out, ROCK ‘N ROLL MY SOUL, and I was pretty psyched to hear it when I found about it last year. Actually, I believe that this CD was released everywhere except North America in late 2010 but it finally has proper distribution, my copy says “2010” so I’m going with it! I saw MSG in concert last summer so I’ve been on an MSG kick, especially the first two records with Barden on vocals, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on Gary’s new solo album. Of course I acquire it and I find out it’s an album of cover songs with one original tacked on the end. Regular readers know (and I will write this everytime a cover is involved) that I’m not into covers where original songs should be, especially when the album is promoted as a “new album”. Granted that it’s new but let’s get to full disclosure! I read the press release when I it came through but it didn’t click somehow that this was a covers record.

Giving the album a few spins, I can honestly say that this is a well-produced and good sounding album. Musicianship is great and Gary sounds in fine voice, he can just sing these songs and not have to pack a Hard Rock punch to them as he does in MSG or when he was in Praying Mantis or Statetrooper. The songs here are all from the late ’60s to the mid ’70s, basically what Gary was listening to back in his formative days. If you’ve ever listened to your local Classic Rock radio station then you’ve definitely heard the original tunes and even know most of the words. I knew all the originals except for the German song ‘Zeit macht nur vor dem Teufel halt’ by Barry Ryan.

Let me run down the original artists in order: Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues, two in a row by Deep Purple, Canned Heat, Stretch, The Spencer Davis Group (featuring Steve Winwood), The Faces, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, Barry Ryan. Add the title song by Barden and you’ve got an album! A new album. Anyway, the songs are all done well (like I mentioned before) and the highlights for me are both Deep Purple songs, ‘Stay With Me’, ‘Travellin’ Band’ and ‘The Long And Winding Road’. I always liked the originals of these songs and the covers are all dead on (all of the covers are), there’s nothing overly special to them, I just like the tunes. I like the fact that Gary covered a couple of Deep Purple songs from MACHINE HEAD (1972), especially ‘When A Blind Man Cries’. Gary sounds a bit like Ian Gillan at times on both songs but it’s not the performances that get me here, it’s the selections. Why cover ‘Never Before’ when you could do the more popular ‘Highway Star’ or the Rock anthem that is ‘Smoke On The Water’? Good for Gary going a little deeper and pulling out ‘When A Blind Man Cries’, a song that was originally the B-side to the ‘Never Before’ single and not originally released on MACHINE HEAD until the 25th Anniversary edition released in 1997. I like the original song, ‘Rock ‘N Roll My Soul’, it has that Aerosmith ‘Big Ten Inch Record’ sound to it…..upbeat, light, quick and fun.

Bottom Line:
This is a covers album so I’m not going to give this outstanding marks but there is some meat on the bone with the original title track, the choice of songs to cover, the arrangements and Gary’s vocals. I think I’m softening my hardline stance against covers because I enjoyed giving this album more than a few spins…..probably due to the fact that you don’t hear these songs covered that often. Usually the Hard Rock guys go with Hard Rock covers, the closest Hard Rock here is Deep Purple. Actually, Gary’s vocals on ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ are really good and that performance helps pull the album from my immeadiate personal disqualification. If you want to hear different versions of these classic songs, or you want to hear Barden’s singing, then pick this up. Of all the covers records I’ve heard in the past couple of years, I like ROCK ‘N ROLL MY SOUL as one of the best.

Favorite Songs:
Both Deep Purple tracks ‘Never Before’ & ‘When A Blind Man Cries’, ‘Trevellin’ Band’, ‘Stay With Me’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and the original title track.

3 comments on “Gary John Barden – Rock ‘N Roll My Soul (2010)

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