Whole Shot 2014
Vocals thrown out the window, former Strawb turns on the stroboscopic twang and wails away.
For all his folk credentials, John Ford’s always occupied the glittery end of the rustic rumble, refusing to draw a line between subjects as serious as a prole life he glorified in “Part Of The Union” by THE STRAWBS’ and as frivolous as body parts he sung about in “Nice Legs, Shame About The Face” recorded with THE MONKS whose "Suspended Animation" LP remains a minor classic. A platinum-adorned artist in his own right and in the company of Richard Hudson, John never shies away from working with the likes of BLACKMORE’S NIGHT – he lent his bass and voice to their “Under A Violet Moon” – and STORIES’ Ian Lloyd with whom he laid down a couple of Halloween singles, yet in a solo mode Ford conjures a different, more distilled kind of magic, pretty pure on this instrumental, as its title suggests, offering.
The album’s cover is telling, too, as every string plucked here belongs to a Fender, the only implicit thing about the record being the homage it pays to THE SHADOWS, which becomes obvious once the muscular chord of “The Reaper” starts hugging its gently rippling strum. Ringing in the years, its echo takes Ford down the memory lane, as no matter how long John’s been living on the other side of the Pond, the reminiscences he puts in “Granny Takes A Trip” still bear an imprint of foggy-eyed English psychedelia and “Tomorrow’s World” contrasts its futuristic self with an air of nostalgia, while out of the title cut the same axe carves a prime example of surf rock. The veteran also introduces exotic flavors to the mix, although the acoustic undercurrent makes the retro-jazz of “Looking For Django” and Mariachi-shaped “Spanish Jive” sound so cinematic they come out deliberately humorous.
But if the delicately swinging “36-34-36” provides a skeletal rock bottom to it all, “Dead Ending” grooves wildly – it’s so infectious, no words are needed, indeed. Music does all the talkin’ here, and this conversation that lasts less than half an hour speaks volumes of its creator’s singular talent.