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BARRY SPARKS ‘Can't Look Back’ (2004)

A solo outing by the respected bass player - he’s performed with Firehouse, Uli Jon Roth, the Scorpions and now is a member of Dokken. First surprise is Barry Sparks' vocals - every melodic and he reminds me at times of Al Stewart (‘Year of the Cat’) for the breathy sound between verses.

‘Between the Sun and Moon’ is a killer song - strong chorus and driving guitar, with some neat time changes between verse and chorus. This is easily of the best tunes I’ve heard all year and that’s no mean feat considering the great music that has been released so far this year.

‘Long Time Coming’ keeps the rock quota high whilst ‘A Soul For Sale’ takes the tempo down being a gentle ballad. ‘Mexico’ veers between AOR and crunching hard rock riffing whilst the title track is a modern rocker similar to Matchbox Twenty or Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Only slight drawback is the sheer variety of tunes on here but personally I prefer that sometimes on albums. A respectful version of the George Harrison penned ‘Something’ closes the album in style. More subdued than the original but a fitting tribute to the late musical genius.

Surprisingly Barry Sparks doesn’t cash in too much on his musical contacts bar guest cameos from Ted Nugent (he lets fly on the excellent ‘Liberty’) and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Plus you get top drummer Shane Gaalaas (Glenn Hughes) helping out as well.

The good thing with this album is that you come to it with no preconceptions of how it should sound and Barry Sparks obviously enjoyed making this album big time!


Review by Jason Ritchie

Artist website

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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