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CURLY SMITH Rough House CSM (2008)

Curly Smith

Curly Smith may not be the most instantly recognizable name outside of the Boston fan base but mention names like Keith Moon, Spencer Davis, Joe Walsh, Brian Wilson and Ron Wood amongst others and you can tell he has been in demand as a session player for some of rock's royalty.

'Rough House' is Smith's second solo release, quite a contrast from his 2001 debut album; that one was a mixture of ethereal jazz influences, this one goes back to his Texan rock and blues roots when he learnt his trade playing with other aspiring musicians at the time such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Gibbons and Johnny Winter. The album is raw and real and makes a refreshing change to the electronic and computer generated music around today.

Smith recorded the whole album at his home studio and plays and wrote all the songs. His voice will no doubt raise a few eyebrows as generally he has been known as providing backing vocals. From the opening track 'Bound to Lose', he powers his way through a total of ten tracks, showing his vocal range as well as his guitar skills, which would not have been out of place by many of his fellow artists that he has played with on his musical path to 'Rough House'.

The quality of the musicianship in the ballad 'When I Found You' is extremely powerful and it is easy to forget that this is a one man show. This is reinforced on the remaining tracks which are a mixture of blues and rock. A refreshing change of tempo comes in the final cut, 'Fire rages On' which is a gentle acoustic ballad revealing the softer and sensitive side of this talented and underrated artist.


Review by Mike Hurle

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***** 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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