By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
In November of 2015, legendary guitarist Leslie West added another title to his considerable list of solo albums with his latest effort “Soundcheck”. The album was produced by Leslie West and Mike Goldberg and was released on the label Provogue.
I think the album’s layout creates a consistent and even flow from song to song. The production is clear and easy. I believe that Leslie’s playing is all aces and his vocals sound excellent as well. The backing musicians are a tight group of talented players that truly help make these songs sound as strong and fulfilling as they are. The guest players too sound superb. A few of my favorites “Soundcheck” has to offer are, “Here For The Party” which I think sounds like a ‘70s Hard Rock track and is sure to amp you up. “Going Down” is a upbeat guitar slinging jam that features Brian May trading off with Leslie. Lastly, the track “Spoonful” which can be found on Leslie West’s 1988 album “Theme” as well, pays tribute to Jack Bruce as Leslie and him tear through a monstrous and intoxicating live version of the track.
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I experienced a few different emotions and feelings while listening to “Soundcheck”. When it came to songs like “You Are My Sunshine”, “People Get Ready” and “Stand By Me”, I could feel the music touching me deep within. Other songs such as “Here For The Party”, "Empty Promises / Nothin’ Sacred” and “Going Down”, I felt uplifted and was ready to tear the roof off my house! “Soundcheck” has the key element that I think makes music great and that is its ability to get in touch with the listener. Leslie and company do a first rate job at establishing that connection.
I think jamming on “Soundcheck” was a positive way to start off the new year for me and I highly recommend you giving the album a spin too!
1. Left By The Roadside To Die
2. Give Me One Reason (Cover of Tracy Chapman)
3. Here For The Party
4. You Are My Sunshine (With Peter Frampton)
5. Empty Promises / Nothin’ Sacred (Tribute to AC/DC)
6. A Stern Warning ( Inst. Tribute to Howard Stern)
7. People Get Ready (Cover of Curtis Mayfield)
8. Going Down (With Brian May)
9. Stand By Me (Cover of Ben E. King with Ariela Pizza)
10. Eleanor Rigby (Inst. Cover of The Beatles)
11. Spoonful (With Jack Bruce - Live)