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Rayburn - 2016 The Living End



ARTIST: Rayburn
ALBUM: The Living End
LABEL: Excited States Entertainment
YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Danny Archer - lead vocals * Steve Stephens - hammond B-3 organ and piano, keyboards * Mack Price - bass, acoustic guitar * NIR-Z - drums * Tom Bukovac - electric and acoustic guitar * Eldon Huff, Mack Price V - electric guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 At The Gate * 02 Morning Train * 03 Malachi * 04 Jealous Mistress * 05 Deep In Blue * 06 Madness * 07 Almost Home * 08 Remember * 09 I Still Believe * 11 Fat Tuesday * 11 Journey * 12 Not Going Back

RATING:

WEBLINKS: Rayburn FB Page


Background
Rayburn are an Arkansas band that poked their head out in 2016, but their history goes way back in time. The glue which holds this prog rock band together is keyboardist Steve Stephens, who knows a thing or two about playing the hammond organ. Rayburn's history is pretty interesting, Stephens and band-mate Jimmy Roberts (guitars) having signed a record contract with RCA subsidiary Mega Records, only to find a brick wall in the way. Stephens would later find out that his father (who wasn't a fan of his son forging a music career) had secretly bought out the contract and didn't reveal this fact until he was on his death bed during 1980. After decades out of the scene, Stephens reassembled the original band in 2009, and their debut album 'Your Mind' came out in 2011, nearly forty years since their heyday. Stephens continued to write, and 'The Living End' was the result. Let's cherry pick a few of these.


The Songs
This album is steeped in organ work, and if you're a sucker for bands like Kansas and Presto Ballet, then Rayburn are for you. That comparison is made early on with the lead-off track 'At The Gate', but don't be thinking this is an olde traditional prog workout. Oh no, there are modern synth touches throughout, plus the drum work is as tight as a ducks you-know-what. The well crafted vocals of Danny Archer also lends this to a modern day recording. Much like the unpredictability of any urban rail transport system in any major city, 'Morning Train' is an ebb and flow affair, cruising verses building up to energetic choruses. Gotta love the groovy rock of 'Malachi', which to me sounds like the perfect Rayburn template. 'Deep In Blue' is different, a near lounge-styled blues number, while 'Almost Home' hints at a Toto styled delivery, considering that band straddles the prog fence that's not surprising. 'I Still Believe' cranks out a sassy classic rocker with ease, following soon after is the mostly 60/70's prog of 'Fat Tuesday', a shorter track with some definite older influences. The acoustic 'Not Going Back' is also short (1 min 31) but is a nice close out.


In Summary
The album contains three ballads ('Madness', 'Remember' and 'Journey') which I feel could've been replaced by other harder rockin' material, but that's just me wanting slightly more from this band. The production from Grammy Award winning producer Ben Fowler is big and spacious, plus there are a backline of contributors from strings, orchestration and backing vocalists. 'The Living End' may have initially flown well below the 2016 ground tracking system, but great albums usually rise like cream to the top, and this one definitely does. As mentioned, for those with a hankering for hammond organ, and comparisons to Kansas and Presto Ballet, then put Rayburn on your investigation list.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on February 06 2017 22:27:20
Rayburn - 2016 At The Gate
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