Here's the review that R Jim Greaves wrote about my first solo album in Blues in Britain in 2010.
Brian has featured here before, in a previous incarnation as the Langley Avenue Jive Cat. Here he is in singer/songwriter mode with 13 self-penned songs about America/American music. In fact the album title is a play on America and Meccano – the assembling of one’s on view of America from the bits you see, hear and read without ever going there. Brian sings and plays guitar and harp with some synth to provide rhythm section on few tracks. Many of the songs are little stories or tales rather than just 2 or 3 verses cobbled together.
“Eve’s Bayou” is a good, moody opener reflecting on the use of voodoo and the risks therein. “The Devil is a Woman” (so true!) is more folk-blues and is a good little story, liked this one. The ballad “Black Skin” was bit too ‘syrupy’ for me. “Promised Land tells the story of a Mexican ‘wetback’ trying to make it in the USA, another good story. “Hallowed Ground” for Brian is where all his blues heroes recorded their songs so the SUN and Chess studios are among those mentioned.
There’s some tasty slide on “Those Sweet Southern Sounds” and then things slow down for the ballad “Ghosts of Mississippi”. There’s another interesting storyline with a neat twist in “Mr Morgan” whilst “Memphis 1968” tells of the ups, downs and up again of the blues in Memphis. “Pretty White Balloon” has the unusual subject matter of the balloon bombs used by Japan in World War 2. The track “Americano” deals with one’s on construct of America and how you expect it to be. The closer is “The Blues is my Religion” and I guess we will all say amen to that!
Brian has a light voice and most of his material is in a ‘gentle’ style being perhaps as much folk-blues as straight blues. The only slight criticism I have is that a couple of more up-tempo numbers might give a bit more variation. This is a really enjoyable album of well-crafted songs. Those into acoustic blues and folk-blues should check this out.