After years of medical tribulations, Scott Morgan is taking the next step in his return to active musical duty. The former Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Hydromatics, The Solution and solo band artist with a career spanning five decades releases his first new album in seven years this month, the stellar "Rough and Ready" (Rouge Records).
Backed by The Sights, his band of choice on recent live outings, Morgan emphatically returns to his blue-eyed soul roots, laying down 10 songs of righteous beauty and grandeur.
Co-written with Eddie Baranek of The Sights and recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders and Adam Cox at Hamtramck Studios, it's a refreshingly pure album and a reminder of why Morgan has long been regarded one of the best rock and soul voices in the business. We asked Scott to walk us track-by-track through "Rough and Ready". The photos are by Marian Krzyzowski.
Who knows if there was a pitch to the label? If there was, it probably went something like this: Find a gap in powerpop troubadour Paul Collins’ crazy schedule, put him in the studio with garage production king Jim Diamond and the house band for Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders, give them a cases of beer and let the music flow.
Collins (The Beat, the Nerves, The Breakaways) writes perfect rocking’ guitar pop like hipsters steal oxygen. It’s in his DNA; he has equals but there’s nobody better. A good proportion of these songs would be mainstream hits in a more enlightened and less disposable time.
Drone and fuzz are the base ingredients in this psychedelic stew from Sydney four-piece Gridning Eyes. The sound is thunderous and heavy in the mid-range, with no compromise to melody. Delicate harmonies are in short supply.
Grinding Eyes have been around for three years and have two singles on prodigious boutique Brisbane label Tym Records. This is their long player debut (on CD through Off The Hip) and it’s an exacting but rewarding trip
Recorded by Owen Pengilis (Straight Arrows), and mixed (in France) and mastered (in Detroit) by sonic wizard Jim Diamond, these are nine songs of dark, relentless assault.
Johnny Casino albums are a treat for the converted and a revelation for those less fortunate. If you’re one of the latter, “Trade Winds” is as good a place as any to start.
It’s been way too long between records for Johnny - both this album and its predecessor "Time and Time Again" are old recordings woodshedded for later release - but well worth the wait. The big fella from Sydney’s Northern Beaches makes Spain his home these days, where he plies his dual trades of tattooing and playing music.
“Trade Winds” was recorded before he emigrated a couple of years ago with a crack band in North Fremantle, Western Australia. Drummer Warren Hall (The Volcanics, Datura 4, The Drones), a longtime Casino sideman, joined with Martyn P Casey (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds /The Triffids/Grinderman) played bass. That’s as fine an engine room as you’ll find.