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Songs In The Key Of E
Nick Kane
El-Camel's Ratings:

Demon Records
michael white


Confused by the freewheeling terms of pre-millennial music? Then this instrumental debut album is for you. It's back to the future… The only house here is the one that's rockin' under the prolonged attack of Nick Kane's nimble fingers as he puts the faithful Gibson on a lead. From there it's a short walk out of the garage and down to the twelve-bar room at the end of three-chord alley.

Ah, the redemptive power of good old rock 'n' roll - with proper geetars 'n' everything. The Maverick's guitarist gets to indulge his, and every closet rocker's, fantasy with this largely self-penned, canine carnival - just check out the mess of dog puns in the track titles - of timeless sounds. This is no muttley collection: opener 'Dog Eat Dog' rams a cold wet nose up your big end, the engine gets red hot real quick and the driving assault that ensues is all laced with Pulp Fictionesque pyrotechnics. 'Dogfight' is set at a sprightly lower gear but with equally assured attention to the sweaty detail. 'Guitars Guitars, Guitars' - written by recent critical cause-célèbre Lee Hazlewood - is riff heaven: the promised land for the old time mainstream religion that was carved out of rock. Testament to the enduring faith of key of E.

'Beach Party' - prefaced with the acoustic Eddie Cochran three-step - is all surfed up with a twangy resonance, his sure touch bouncing out across the sand. 'Jogging Along' does as it says in the title: good time bar blues all funked up by a rampant organ. The album only loses focus with the tepid wah-wah flicker of Deep Purple's 'Into The Fire' and the overcooked melancholy of coda - 'Hush, Puppy.'

No such reservations for 'The Lonely Puppy Blues' which silver-tongues Chris Isaak in shimmering fluid tones. A guy could get Lynched if he's not careful. This type of collection is often an indulgent contract filler - allowing any wrinkly ancient rocker to reaffirm his roots, or revisit his halcyon days while the trousers still just fit over the paunch. A spare-tyred and cynical way to earn a cruft.

But to Nick Kane's credit his approach is never less than crisp, fresh and invigorating. It sure as hell ain't no dawg of an album and, in the same breath, he's an able deputy for the classic rock' n 'rollers of the past - as befits someone who has played with the likes of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Duane Eddy, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon; while obviously filling his note pad at the same time. Forgo the shaggy stories… Kane's sensitive ear is the key to this.

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