STEVE ELLIS A Sort Of Innocence (Redrock Records REDR001) (2004)
Steve Ellis will forever carry the millstone that is 'Everlasting Love'. It seems to crop up
with worrying frequency on most of his albums, and on this new solo offering it is
featured twice. Ageing rockers and pop pickers will recall that it was Ellis who fronted
teen sensations Love Affair and scored a No.1 hit with that song in 1968.
Fortunately the two versions are different to the original, the live version recorded when
Ellis was a guest at a Paul Weller gig in 2001 and featuring the Modfather on guitar.
Following a low-key career revival and spurred on by recent CD and DVD releases, this
latest album is actually very good. Ellis not only has Weller guesting on a couple of studio tracks,
including Weller's own composition,(the opening track 'Brand New Start'), but he managed to pull in Roger Daltrey
for a spot of harp blowing.
That's where big-name support ends, but with an excellent backup band and featuring two
songs by newcomer Sam Smith, Ellis doesn't really need the bunk-up. Ellis' own songs are a mixture of nicely-styled pop-rock with blues and soul overtones.
Whilst an album like this will always remain niche with limited mass appeal, it is good
to hear Ellis again. In general the songwriting and playing is top-draw and will appeal
to ageing rockers and those for whom the letters AOR provoke unashamed anticipation.