BRIAN CADD & THE BOOTLEG FAMILY – BULLETPROOF
Released: 11 November 2016
℗ 2016 Caddman Enterprises
- I Still Can’t Believe It’s True
- Love is Like a Rolling Stone
- Black Queen
- Long Time ‘Till the First Time
- The One that Got Away
- Catching it all on the Straightaway
- Something Good’s Gotta Turnaround
- Hell Out of Dodge
- On the Edge
Forty three years is a hell of a long time to produce a debut album and I Still Cant Believe Its True (sorry Brian), but here it comes as we speak. Lurching from the annals of history with all the imperturbable chill and swagger one could expect from such a long-awaited rock entity. The first studio album from Brian Cadd and The Bootleg Family Band. Bulletproof is a sweltering rock sensation, oozing, dripping and decidedly drizzling with the pure essence of the rock itself.
We are eased into this astounding collection with the title track and strangely, the lyrics, sound and delivery have taken me straight back to memories of Alvin Purple. Perhaps this is due to the tremendous atmosphere of rock legacy from Brian the band, blended dazzlingly with the contemporary rock stylings thanks to the brilliant backing vocals and instrumental delivery. You realise right away that this, your first listening is going to be a humbling, historically significant and dare I say chillingly exciting event. The memories of Brian’s previous works come flooding back and the nostalgia is compounded by Brian’s unbelievably bountiful and superb voice being fresher than ever. Perhaps the years have been swept aside and we feel so very young again, all due to the youthful exuberance and enormously enjoyable rock frolic that is, and always was Brian and The Bootleg Family Band.
I freely admit to being a long-time fan of I Still Can’t Believe It’s True when delivered by Joe Cocker, but have always wondered if Brian would have harboured a desire for a harder rock edge to this track. Since it was written specifically for Joe, it’s unlikely but what I experience with Track 2 from Bulletproof, is that old school ‘live’ rock air that, to my delight, knocks my socks into a neighbouring suburb. The unbelievably exciting guitar intro and vocal delivery leave me struggling for suitable vernacular with ‘wow, outa sight man’ and ‘OMFG’ being hurled with delightful abandon. Perhaps struggling for exclamations consistent with the correct decade is exactly the appropriate reaction to Brian Cadd and the timeless appeal of his creations. That coupled with the expansive list of tremendously talented collaborators who feature so perfectly on this remarkable work. The wondrous voice of Angela Librandi, the talent of Lou Linking, Nikki Nichols, Lisa Bade, Lindasy Field, Glyn Mason, John Creech, Ed Ahern, Rick Finn giving it some 10CC and, of course the one and only Paul Kelly make this album more a musical monument than an album. Sadly, with every monument is typically a tribute to the departed. So is the case with Brian dedicating Slow Walk to the late, great Ross Hanniford, who passed away in march of this year. Tony Naylor performs a such a soulful and skilful guitar contribution that, I believe, helps immortalise Ross and his remarkable style. I sit back and visualise Ross in his ‘Come Back Again’ suit, plucking away in inimitable style with Daddy Cool. What a superb tribute and wonderful way to prompt Ross to memory.
We move into the globally celebrated Cadd classic Love is Like a Rolling Stone and is so phenomenally special on the album. Don’t tell the Pointer Sisters but this track is a genuinely breathtaking inclusion due to everyone’s magnificent contribution.
Black Queen is yet another highlight nestled amongst all the same ilk and the guitar sections are, yet again, splendiferous. But I guess that is the intrinsic result in collaborating with such sensational guitarists in Tony Naylor of course, Dai Pritchard, Rick Fenn and Richard Naylor.
Long Time Till The First Time, Yesterdays Dreams followed by The One That Got Away leave me again pondering the expanse of musical talent and experience that have assembled for this work. Gus Fenwick and Gary Lyon providing fantastic rhythm through bass and I am delighted to see that Geoff Cox shared the drum stool with Mick Skelton. We are very fortunate to have Mick amongst us following a tragic event while touring with Thirsty Merc in September last year. Both lend their perfect percussive prowess and it is always very special to hear Mick healed and at the kit.
As we continue through this marvellous musical marvel, we realise it’s the one and only Wilbur Wilde on the sax, Mike Rudd on harmonica, John Grant, Jamie Rigg and Sam See on keyboards all packaged in the perfect painted portrait, namely Atlanta Burning by Phillip Howe.
Catching It All On The Straightaway, Something Good’s Gotta Turn Around and Hell Outa Dodge prompt a desire to understand how long these tracks have been bouncing around the magical Brian Cadd basal ganglia and bright has burned the desire within him to complete this decades old objective. Nevertheless, the result is a superb collection rounded off (perdon the pun) with On The Edge. Brian and The Bootleg Family Band, along with the guest performers have achieved something extremely special indeed. Together they quite evidently, created the perfect atmosphere of creativity and splendidly harnessed the heritage, captured a contemporary rock appeal and combined them into a work of blended brilliance. Produced with, and engineered by Doug Brady, this is doubtless our virtuosos exact vision. Considering the completed collection, perhaps this album has become so much more than Brian envisage. An aural entwinement of wistful reminiscence and contemporary rock finery, resulting in a tremendously exciting journey.
I hope it was the intention of all to start a whole new generation of fans and go for another 40 plus. As Brian prepares for his 50th Anniversary Tour, I suspect that’s exactly what may transpire.