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Tom and Ali - Fizgig Review for 'Selling My Soul'

In blues legend there is a story of a crossroads, selling of a soul and a remarkable return ... some parallels can be drawn here, with 19 years passing since their last studio album and their name rarely heard in the 21st. century, King Bizkit are back with a truly remarkable album 'Selling My Soul'.

Over the last 13 years, band leader Richard Everitt has been working on songs for his latest album (due for release on 1 May 2012), drawing together a host of superb musicians from a variety of backgrounds to perform nine excellent songs that feature on the album, all bar two written by Richard, but all nine arranged by Himself, assisted by Jon Bower, King Bizkit's bass player, who also plays on all the tracks. Names such as Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash I Tina Turner), John Lingwood (Manfred Mann's Earthband I Roger Chapman), sax player Pete Long stand out, interestingly though, less well known names feature too, singer Claire Edwards and flute player Lisa Halls were 'discovered' performing in Ipswich pubs.

The quality of the production is immediately apparent on the opening numbers. 'Together Again', which fairly swings along and is reminiscent in places of Tony Joe White's 'Steamy Windows', has some great brass work from the five piece section of Lisa Graham from Jools Holland's Big Band (tenor & alto), Pete Long (baritone sax), Mike Owen (tenor sax), legendary British jazz trumpeter Henry Lowther, who has worked with John Dankworth, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Elton John, Paul McCartney and many others, and Claude Deppa (trumpet) who feature throughout this album. This is one of five tracks featuring Laurie Wisefield on lead guitar, the others being '... or Die Trying', 'The Letter', 'A Fast One' and 'Selling My Soul'.

'Leaving Time' features the funky guitar of Tim Ainslie (Swagger I Groovedoctors I Ainslie's Vibes), complemented by some excellent Hammond organ from Jan Gibbons (who plays on seven tracks), who has toured and recorded with many Bands including Mott The Hoople, The Kinks, Chris Farlowe and Dr.Feelgood. Also the superb solid drumming from John Lingwood, who again plays on seven tracks and the excellent driving bass guitar of Jon Bower.

Next up, one of two Gregg Wright songs, King Bizkit's masterful performance of '...or Die Trying' dives deep into the depths of the blues with Everitt's outstanding lead vocals adding to the desperate mood of the song, whilst the backing vocals are excellent too. The song also features some fine guitar work, plus excellent playing from Claude Deppa and the Brass Section.

A modern soul blues song with an angry tilt to it, 'Fatman's Game' marks Lisa Halls' studio debut on flute, though the casual listener is more likely to notice the uptempo brass work from the superb brass section, which on this track includes Richard Henry on bass trombone, interlaced with Tim Ainslie's guitar and Jan Gibbons' Hammond organ.

Next comes a quartet of songs about that ever present blues subject, women!

As the swinging 'Don't Want You 'round Me No More' shows the jealous, ever demanding woman the door, Everitt's vocals embody the relief of an ended relationship. The song features some notable keyboard work too!

This song and 'Don't Quit Me Baby' (track 7) features one of King Bizkit's founder members from 1989, Adam Clarkson on lead guitar, as well as some notable piano playing from Reg Webb, who was the keyboard player with Nik Kershaw and Suzi Quatro and also pusues a successful jazz career, plus an excellent baritone sax solo by Pete Long and another jazz musician Kendrick Rowe (ex. Maxi Priest, Jazz Warriors, D.H.S.S. and Jazz Jamaica), plays drums on the two numbers. Adam continues to play regularly with King Bizkit, and has also worked with Salvation, Built For Comfort, The Motel Kings and Gregg Wright.

'The Letter' is another song about the heartache of relationships, and again features some superb guitar work from Laurie Wisefield.

'A Fast One', always one of our favourite Gregg Wright blues/rock songs, is given an extra dimension with Everitt's soulful arrangements of brass, guitar and keyboards combining to give a fantastic funky sound. King Bizkit's versions of Wright's originals are very impressive, showcasing perfectly Gregg's outstanding song writing ability.

The closing song 'Selling My Soul', like his other songs on this album is autobiographical, encapsulating Everitt's lifetime in music so far and features studio debutante Claire Edwards on backing vocals alongside Ira Jones (vocalist with Jah Warriors).

After so long away from the spotlight, King Bizkit is back! This excellent album, recorded at Roundel Studios in Kent, stands out, both for exceptional songs and musicianship and also the quality of production by producer Richard Everitt.

As well as the music, there is also the fantastic bonus of the amazing artwork of famous artist Roger Dean on the world-wide release, to look forward to. This will be Roger's 1215 t. album cover, having produced album covers for Yes, Barclay James Harvest, Asia, Pink Floyd and many more and it can also be enjoyed on a limited run of 500 numbered Collectors Gatefold Vinyl Albums via King Bizkit Records (www.kingbizkitrecords.com) and Roger Dean (www.rogerdean.com) websites.

For more information on news of the forthcoming tour to promote the cd and how to purchase 'Selling My Soul', visit www.kingbizkit.com or www.kingbizkitrecords.com

Tom and Ali - Fizgig - 5th May 2012

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