Chris Spedding is a British guitarist who has been on the music scene some fifty years. In 1975 he scored big with the hit single “Motorbikin’”. He has worked with The Sex Pistols, Jack Bruce, John Cale, Paul McCartney, Robert Gordon, Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry, and King Mob with Glen Matlock, among many others. This is Spedding’s 13th studio recording.
Spedding plays in a sparse but evocative guitar style reminiscent of surf rock. His playing is dramatic. He opens this recording with the title track which features his moody guitar riffs and some sinister narration from another Brit, actor Ian McShane who starred in the HBO series “Deadwood” and also as Blackbeard in the “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The result is a foreboding invitation “Joyland is always open; it’s a door that never closes”. The song borders on the insane as you can hear the clowns laughing.
Arthur Brown is featured on “Now You See It”. Brown is best known for “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” and his 1968 hit “Fire” with the lyric “I am the God of Hellfire”. Brown was responsible for what became known as Psychedelic Rock and he doesn’t disappoint us.
The album gets even more interesting on “Café Racer”. On this instrumental with bassist Glen Matlock, formerly of The Sex Pistols, Spedding paints us a film noir landscape. It’s sort of a travelogue for your mind. The Ventures type sound is exploited again on “Heisenberg” with bassist Johnny Marr.
In 1970 when Spedding was living in New York he would frequent CBGB’s and there he gigged with David Ebony of the band The Erasers. “Gun Shaft City”, written by Ebony, is a bit of Western twang sung here by Bryan Ferry. On “I Still Love You” Spedding is reunited with singer Robert Gordon.
“The Pied Piper” is a song written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld who called their 60’s folk group “The Changin’ Times”. Kornfeld was one of the promoters of Woodstock and in 2009 wrote the book “The Pied Piper of Woodstock”. The song’s title came from The Pied Piper of Hamelin and featured the use of a Penny Whistle. In 1966, it was a hit for British pop star Crispian St. Peters both in the United Kingdom and in the States. It features Andy Mackay on both oboe and saxophone. Spedding sings on this and on all but one of the remaining songs..
On “Go Down South” he is joined by bassist Steve Parsons. Parsons co-authored “Shock Treatment” and wrote the remaining three tracks; “I’m Your Sin” is a duet between Spedding and singer Lane; “Message for Stella” is sung by Parsons, and “Boom Shakka Boom” sung by Spedding features a background vocal from his wife Jody Beach.
Spedding’s atmospheric guitar should receive a significant amount of airplay.