This is Gary’s forth album, the others being ‘Wail and Holler’, ‘Dark Water’, and ‘The Devils Hand’. All the songs are written by Gary and whereas I’ve not heard any of his earlier work I will try and remedy this soon.
The title track ‘Juda’s has a ringing guitar line and a driving chorus. I must say the production on the album is very good and while I would say its a grower, some of the tracks I liked from the off but not all. The second track ‘He Ain’t Your Lord’ opens with a acoustic guitar but then we treated to a Shadows-style burst, and again I am struck by the playing. Gary has some help with the guitar work and backing vocals but not on the second track.
Track 5 ‘Salt River’ is different; a more softer song with a mellow guitar and floating flute line and probably with the title track is one of my favourites. Track 6 ‘Trouble’ reminded me of Chas and Dave but that could just be me. ‘How Does Your Garden Grow’ has some psychedelic guitar work and reminds me of some 60’s groups guitar work.
With track 8 ‘Salem Town’ shows that Gary does not keep to the same format for every song and with this track it reminded me of some early English folk songs were the lines are repeated I felt this change of tempo and style help the album. Gary lists the likes of Dylan, Tom Petty, The Beatles, The La’s, Shack, The Roses and The Charlatans as some of the bands that have inspired him. When I asked Gary why he wrote he said “ I write because I love composing songs, lyrics and melodies being what I am best at. Writing that line you have been chasing for weeks is like striking musical gold ! ”
I feel there will be something for most people on this album, and while it’s not entirely acoustic I still like it. If I was to make any constructive comments they would be brief and centre around the album cover and the track listing – who and what is on each track is very hard to read. I like the CD label with its astrological symbols and the snake and dragon biting each other’s tails. I would of liked a lyrics sheet but then I like to sing along.
All in all a very well produced and arranged album the backing vocals appear as needed and to great effect as are the other instrumentalists. Gary made a similar comment when he said “ I couldn’t have done it without Ian Scanlan and the amazing vocal talents of the girl singers, Davina, Jojo,Jess and Lou, “ I look forward to hearing more. Look out for Gary when he performs out and about.