Rock Vet Low Plots Solo CD
(PR) Welsh-born singer-guitarist Andy Fairweather Low is truly a pop-music survivor: you may remember his hits with the '60s British pop group Amen Corner ("Bend Me Shape Me," "[If Paradise Is] Half as Nice," "Gin House") or be a fan of his '70s solo LPs on A&M, which have achieved cult-classic status (1975's Spider Jivin', 1976's La Booga Rooga and 1978's Be Bop 'n' Holla) and yielded more hits ("Reggae Tune," "Be Bop 'n' Holla," "Wide Eyed and Legless." More recently he's been an essential sideman for the Who, Van Morrison, Linda Ronstadt, Bill Wyman and George Harrison, and, in his longest associations, Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. Now he's back on the solo track with Sweet Soulful Music (Proper American Recordings), due out in the U.S. on August 15, 2006.
Low was Clapton's second guitarist for 13 years, appearing on Unplugged, From the Cradle, Pilgrim, Riding With the King, Reptile, One More Rider, Me and Mr. Johnson and Back Home. He toured with Clapton (reviving "Gin House" for the 1999 shows) until 2003, and has also toured extensively with Roger Waters.
But Low finally felt the need to make his own music again, and did not tour with Clapton in '04 for Me and Mr. Johnson. Now, a mere 26 years after releasing his last solo effort, Low returns with Sweet Soulful Music, which sounds as its title suggests and served as a kind of old-home week for Low. It was produced by Glyn Johns; the famed engineer for the Beatles and Stones also produced La Booga Rooga and Be Bop 'n' Holla. The band includes bassist Dave Bronze (Robin Trower, Procol Harum, Clapton), and drummer Henry Spinetti (Clapton, Harrison, Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey), with John "Rabbit" Bundrick (the Who, Pete Townshend, Bob Marley) adding piano to two tracks. Bundrick played on La Booga Rooga and Be Bop 'n' Holla, while Spinetti appeared on the latter LP.
Sweet Soulful Music begins with a rockabilly rave-up, "One More Rocket," but most of the music here travels at a more leisurely, introspective, yet upbeat pace, with the virtuosic Low handling all guitars, ukelele and mandolin. Backup singers Carole Kenyon, Katie Kissoon and Pat Arnold add to the soulful texture of "Hymn 4 My Soul," "Ashes and Diamonds" and the title track. "I give out but I don't give in," Low sings on Zazzy, just one tune inflected with the sound of gospel music. Indeed, spirituality is the theme throughout, as Low reflects on life and appeals to a higher power on behalf of us all: "I believe in a heaven for everyone," he states in "Ashes and Diamonds." "I count my blessings one by one," goes the gentle yet stunning "The Low Rider," "I'm only who I am and what I've done." What Low's done here is offer a prayer without pretension in every infectious song.
Low will be touring as the guitarist with Roger Waters in the U.S. this September and October, in all major venues, and will embark on a solo U.S. tour early 2007.
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