January 31, 2007

CD Review: Gilby Clarke - Gilby Clarke

Striking while the iron is hot, Gilby Clarke is releasing a collection of his past work in an apparent effort to cash in on the recent success of Rockstar: Supernova. Not a bad idea, if you ask me, and yes I know you didn't. It is a pretty good way to get introduced to Gilby outside of what you have seen on the show, or may have seen during his tenure in Guns N' Roses. I have ot be honest in that the only recording I had ever heard from Gilby was GNR's The Spaghetti Incident and some live Guns material. This is my first exposure to him as a solo artist.

Gilby Clarke is a fourteen song compilation culled from his work from 1994 through 2002. The albums that were mined are Swag, Rubber, The Hangover, Pawnshop Guitars, and the collaboration with Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom and Tracii Guns - Col. Parker's Rock n' Roll Music. Also included is a new version of "Black," from his initial solo release, this time featuring Rockstar: Supernova runner-up Dilana.

As I listened to the album, I cannot claim to be blown away by anything that is included her. Still, there is a satisfaction gleaned from the solid rock tracks. The collection is peppered with southern rock flaver, touches of punk and country, and finished with straight up rock and roll. There is some nice song writing, nice riffing, and some decent leads. This more or less cements Gilby as a talented gunslinger, though I hesitate to call myself a fan. There are bits that I liked and moments that kicked it up, but, again, it was just a little too down the middle solid. He is versatile and can conform his playing to a few different sounds without being out of place. He is better than the "he's just Izzy's replacement" kind of attitude I had towards him for some time.

The album kicks off with the hardest rocker of the bunch, "Cure Me... or Kill Me." I love the opening to the song, with the morose notes leading into the high energy riff. The meat of the album is highlighted by the country flavored "Skin n' Bones," the upbeat piano tinged "It's Good Enough for Rock n' Roll," the attitude injected "Punk Rock Pollution," and the southern blues of "Bourbon Street Blues."

Gilby Clarke steams towards its conclusion with a track that made me think I was listening to Soul Asylum, "I'm Nobody." Seriously, it would have sounded right at home next to Soul Asylum's "Misery." Then there is one of my favorite cuts, "Alien," a song where everything just seems to fall into place.

Special mention to both the Dilana fronted "Black" which just sounds great. While I never watched Supernova, she is the better frontperson than that Lukas guy. I am glad that she was at least able to record this cut with Gilby. Also, the Col. Parker tracks are quite good, particularly "Can't Get That Stuff."

Bottomline. All in all, this is a pretty good album. Not enough to make a Gilby fan, but enough to show me some of the skills that he possesses. This album collects some good songs that span a variety of styles and delivers some rock.

Mildly Recommended.


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