Whole Shot 2015
Bright side of life as seen by one who was part of the union and a kind of a superman.
John Ford’s always been an optimist and his faith in the future shone through “Heavy Disguise” that the bass player set in the heart of STRAWBS’ “Grave New World.” The veteran’s new album taps into the same, although much more lyrical, vibe which follows the instrumental twang of 2014’s "No Talkin’" with an array of songs in search of a higher ground. So while there’s urban loneliness in “Concrete Jungle” bouncing off an acoustic guitars web and a sensual beat, Ford’s brisk appropriation of his former band’s “Deep In The Darkest Night” chases the gloom away.
More fitting for a finale, “Cry Me A River” gives the record a tired start, as John croons in a most traditional way over what could be expanded into an orchestral backdrop, letting this paradox drive the elegiac piece towards the light of hope. It illuminates the intimate solemnity and exquisite six-string solo of “You Can Do Anything” and the warm nostalgia of “Old, Borrowed And Blue,” whereas the riffing “After The Rock” rides a glitter groove, given a solid bottom end and Ian Lloyd’s smooth vocal support. Yet Ford wouldn’t be Ford without his patented humor and anthemic choruses, so the folk-tinctured title track offers them in abundance, although a short piano break in its midst reminds the listener about the passing nature of life.
Hence the transparent, if sparkling, connection of “Link To The Chain” and the bittersweet recollection – and the refusal of sadness – in “The Letter,” but again, in a typical John Ford fashion, “Sandy” resolves the doubts in a hymnal rise, the song’s chorus proposing a new union and a prayer for everyone. A quintessential statement.