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Leslie West - Soundcheck


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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For his sixteenth solo album, West, the former guitarist for late-'60s hard rockers Mountain ("Mississippi Queen") offers a set comprised mostly of cover tunes, and a well-chosen lot they are. West is in fine form both with his vocals and his guitar playing throughout, romping on slide guitar on the blues rocker "Left By the Roadside to Die," trading licks with Queen's Brian May on the rowdy chestnut "Goin' Down" (which also features Bonnie Bramlett and Bobby Whitlock) and shining on the acoustic guitar instrumental "Stern Warning," an original that he penned for his longtime friend Howard Stern. The most unusual choice of covers, "You Are My Sunshine," ends up being one of the most stunning cuts on the record. West replaces the song's familiar bounce with a deep sense of loss by performing the song like a dirge and tweaking the lyrics to include, "You shattered all my dreams." The song also features guest player Peter Frampton. Covers of other well-known tunes include takes on "People Get Ready," "Stand by Me" and a short instrumental interpretation of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" that's played by band bassist Rev Jones. The set closes with a live version of Willie Dixon's blues classic "Spoonful" that was recorded in 1988 and that features the late Jack Bruce on bass and vocals.

Soundcheck will be released on November 20th.

Leslie West - Soundcheck
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