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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Bartley, Jock - 2006 Blindside
Bartley, Jock - 2006 Blindside

ARTIST: Bartley, Jock
ALBUM: Blindside
LABEL: Winged Horse Records
SERIAL: 06 0250
YEAR: 2006
SPONSOR: Glass Onyon PR


LINEUP: Jock Bartley - lead and backing vocals, lead, rhythm and slide guitar, production * Mark Andes - bass * Ruty Young - dobro * Jimmie Fadden - harmonica, maracas * John McEuen - mandolin, fiddle * Richie Furay - harmony vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blindside * 02 It's So Hard * 03 Veronica So Fair * 04 You Need Love * 05 Call On Me * 06 Goodhearted Man * 07 I Used to Say * 08 Baby I Will * 09 Economy * 10 Insatiable * 11 Dysfunctional Bop * 12 Pretty Please * 13 Just Let Go



Along with a supporting cast of more than two dozen, 'Blindside' is perennial Firefall leader Jock Bartley's first solo CD after a career spanning more than thirty years. With help from notable performers such as Richie Furay and Rusty Young from Poco (their contributions minimal), Bartley's solo debut is far from a Firefall replica, the thirteen tracks covering a lot of ground, ranging from modern pop, country to hard rock, all with Bartley's identifiable guitar work. Bartley obviously preferred not to be stuck in a seventies timewarp, or for that matter the early 80's when Firefall transformed into a competent AOR act. At thirteen tracks this is not an easy haul, but Bartley has managed to stay true to his musical vision of heartland influenced American rock while displaying a heavier side of his guitar skill that was frequently missing from Firefall's work.

The Songs
The title track opens in modern pop style, jangly guitars and dour melody, certainly an attempt at staying current and not being pinned to Bartley's past as if he is saying 'I've moved on'. Firefall fans will be pleased though with 'Veronica So Fair' which uses harmony work reminiscent of the bands classic output along with gentle acoustic guitar work. A fine track. 'You Need Love' could be .38 Special off their last CD 'Drivetrain', heavy sub-Southern rock, where Bartley allows himself the chance to flex his guitar muscle. Written in 1998 was 'Call On Me', which Bartley wrote for a Suicide Prevention center, and as expected is a touching anthem full of hope and recorded in a light pop manner. It's impossible not to think of John Mellencamp while listening to 'Goodhearted Man', which is eerily similar in melody to 'The Authority Song'. The style is lighthearted Americana with accordion use and upbeat melodies, which sums up a fair portion of the album. The swampy blues of 'I Used To Say' isn't far off the heavier moments of 'Luna Sea', but Jock seems at ease with softer affairs like 'Baby I Will' which would suit today's easy rock climate. 'Economy' proves Bartley can still rock quite effectively (and cynically) and his guitar work has arguably never been more fiery than on 'Just Let Go', his solo turning back the clock decades and proving who was responsible for Firefall's sound.

In Summary
A mixed bag, with perhaps four tracks too many, those bogged down in similar structures, either the soft rock with a modern twist excursions or the jaunty Mellencamp inspired cuts that I assume are supposed to represent the working class American ethic. Whatever that is.... More than often the album succeeds, whether heavy or light, but it has to be stated again that this is not a Firefall retread, instead elements of the band are incorporated instead of sounding like them as a whole. Bartley's songwriting is impressive, penning all tracks and it would be interesting to hear how different a new Firefall album would be, if there is ever to be one. A man of many talents indeed, Bartley proves he is far from finished as a songwriter, and hopefully this instigates a new period of musical productivity.

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