Thanks so much to Blues, Blues.UK for the review of Ample'tudes.
Steve Purcell – Ample’tudes (Self Release)
From out of adversity comes Steve Purcell’s debut album, Ample’tudes. let’s just say that this album deserves to be given a fresh lease of life and claim an issue for 2023. The opener, Hammer Down, is a drag race of a start, engine gunned and guitar slammed. It’s a rocking good opener with lots of runs, flicks, reverb and wah wah with light and shade provided by tempo changes, already showing that he is a good player. There’s no shortage of technique on this instrumental as he slices his way through it. Good start. We get footsteps and a door opening to introduce us to Rattlesnake Road. Things change though as we have Steve’s tremolo arm in full use for this Western themed track. Think Shadows and Dick Dale with some Spaghetti Western shouts in there too. Another instrumental, there’s minimal backing and leaves you wondering if we are in for an album full. What it doesn’t leave you with is any doubt in his ability to play guitar. The bell tolls for all you baddies at the start of Angel In Hell. There’s fiddle and mandolin…and a voice with Steve giving us a Country Folk song for a big change in direction. Vocally it’s ok as it complements the intricate acoustic guitar fills. As it goes on the fuddle and acoustic slide joust with one another and the voice grows on you. This shows his versatility in that he is as adept on acoustic as he is on electric. Bells toll at the end for good measure just to top and tail things. The very short (just over 1 minute) Retro Radio has Steve scrolling through his radio looking for stations and the ones he stops on gives us an idea of his influences. The driving riffs and sharp technique of Mouse In The House gives us a thoroughly enjoyable and free flowing rocker with elements of the Allman Brothers.
The acoustic led Trouble With Love is highlighted by a deep, dulcet vocal with an intimate feel and good harmony. It’s one of the better vocal tracks. A well written Rock Ballad that is just missing the big pounding drum and electric solo finish that would make it complete. Bits & Pieces opens with barroom noises, finger clicks and jazzy swing guitar in the background. Brushed drums and pronounced bass join the guitar for an instrumental that Brian Setzer would be proud of. Steve’s technique is on show with a twangy solo where he often snaps into the notes. The most recognisable song on the album is the Junior Wells classic Messin’ With The Kid. Some say, including me, that the Rory Gallagher version is the seminal one but with a screaming vocal and some top playing, this reaches high in the charts. He really lets it go vocally. This is a very good version with storming guitar and Hammond organ adding a little counterpoint to the rocking voice. Then the drums start slashing and there’s even a little slide thrown in as it gets better the longer you listen. Skippin’ Lickin’ (AKA The Lick) opens with an old phone dial tone before a pleading voice asks for the lick to be played. Steve complies and throws out a short guitar masterclass, full of the requested licks. Enough said. Proceedings close with Don’t Say Goodbye and it’s back to acoustic for the finish. It might even be 12 string but there’s definitely a mandolin in there somewhere. He’s back to Country tones, again showing his genre straddling ability. It’s a sweet song, not my choice for a closing track but a good one anyhow.
I’m glad this album is finally seeing the light of day. Go buy it!