1. Tom Devil.
2. Out Of My Mind.
3. Sailin’ Shoes.
4. I’m Going Home.
5. Fade Into You
6. Blues Aint’ Nothing But A Good Woman On Your Mind.
7. Green Power.
8. Better Days.
9. Easy On The Eyes.
10. Evil Woman.
12. Light Em Up.
13. Peace In The Valley.
PHILIP SAYCE was born in Aberystwyth (Wales) but moved to Canada at a very early age. From the outset, it was quite obvious that Philip was inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. However, older influences are also apparent, (such as Albert Collins, Buddy Guy etc.), which can be heard in the more traditional sounding Blues numbers which pepper this album.
After touring various clubs as a teenager, he became well known in and around Toronto. In 1997, Sayce joined the “Jeff Healey Band” playing at various venues around the world including the prestigious “Montreux Jazz Festival”.
After moving to Los Angeles, Philip joined forces with “Uncle Cracker” appearing on (amongst others), “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”. In 2002 he also wrote the soundtrack and starred in a short film called “Cockroach Blue”.
Due to a referral through John Shanks in the Autumn of 2003, Philip joined “Melissa Etheridge”, performing on many of her albums and tours.
Philip has recorded seven solo albums (including an EP), namely: -
1. Philip Sayce Group (1996)
2. Peace Machine (2009)
3. Innerevolution (2010)
4. Ruby Electric (2011)
5. Silver Wheel Of Stars EP (2012)
6. Steamroller (2012)
7. Influence (2014)
“TOM DEVIL” is a marvelous, powerful, reworking of a traditional ballad with a truly addictive guitar riff and a pounding beat. (Man those prisoners sure know how to rock). Real heady stuff to get the toes tapping and the body swaying. A great little opener that takes me back. If you have time, check out the original by Ed Lewis.
“OUT OF MY MIND”. In a nutshell pure Hendrix. From the crashing drums of the Intro, the wailing guitar and the pure “Psychedelic delight” of the middle eight. This track truly delights the senses. Pure nostalgia and a worthy tribute. Don’t forget those headphones!!!
With “SAILIN’ SHOES” the groove gets really funky. This is yet another toe tapper, yet, with a total change of mood which demonstrates the versatility of this performer. A happy little rocker which lifts the spirits.
“I,M GOING HOME” whilst possibly being inspired by a song with a similar name (Performed by “TEN YEARS AFTER”), is my least favourite track on the album. Despite this, the number is performed competently and I,m sure this will appeal to many fans. The piece kicks off with a repetitive riff which seems to dominate the entire work, the workaday vocals ensue, the guitar solo doesn’t deliver and somehow things just never get interesting. An album filler. Sorry. Next!!!!!!
“FADE INTO YOU” Is a beautiful, moving ballad, full of atmosphere, expressive vocals and acoustic guitar, but it belies a certain darkness, (the lyrics should provide a clue). Sayce apparently relates that it concerns his negative experiences within the music business. Incidentally there’s a great guitar solo in there which truly showcases this man’s talent. Reminds me a little of “SAILING”. One of the “Heavier” tracks on the album. A winner.
Unfortunately I,m not familiar with the original “Don Covay” version of “BLUES AIN’T NOTHING BUT A GOOD WOMAN ON YOUR MIND”, however, I do know that he would be proud of this very able rendition, which for me, appears to emulate this style to perfection. We could almost be back in the sixties in that smokey bar room. Great authentic sounding vocals by Mr.Sayce by the way. Take a bow sir.
“GREEN POWER” is a “Little Richard” number which is once again given the “PHILIP SAYCE” treatment. Philip’s version seems a little more modern in it,s interpretation and is altogether heavier and more dynamic. (Due in part I’m sure to modern production methods.) Initially I wasn’t familiar with the original which was produced in 1971, but a short diversion to “You Tube” soon remedied that.
“BETTER DAYS” is a pleasant version of the uplifting “Graham Nash” original. Philip’s vocal on this piece reminds me more of “Robert Cray” and the song in general has a distinctly different, more powerful, feel than Graham’s interpretation. Still a lovely ballad with gentle lilting guitar, piano, and organ, that builds nicely into a well crafted song.
“EASY ON THE EYES” is a loud, raucous, bluesy, up-tempo number that assaults the senses from the word go. There is once again, a somewhat “Hendrixy” flavor towards the middle before the choir reprise the initial theme. Finally some wailing ensues (for variety) and then, it,s all over. No Comment.
“EVIL WOMAN” kicks off with a motif that is quite addictive as it is repeated throughout this number. This is a powerful piece in which Philip really lets his guitar rip. There’s an interesting solo towards the middle and although the song itself is a little repetitive, this track is quirky enough to sustain the listener’s interest throughout. The vocals are strong in the true Rock tradition and the backing singers give a certain depth to a better than average track.
A drum roll introduces “TRIUMPH” which is a truly beautiful, melodic instrumental. I am reminded simultaneously of “ALBATROSS” and the theme from “TOMMY” (by the “WHO”.) A perfect track for those long Summer days spent lazing by the pool or on the beach. Leaves you wanting more.
“LIGHT EM UP” is another Sayce original. There’s an unusual ambient, “Intro” to this track which I can’t really describe, but as soon as the guitar hammers on we’re back in familiar territory. There’s a catchy vocal refrain (with chorus) , a compelling riff and raunchy vocals mixed with a blazing guitar solo. What more could one want?
“PEACE IN THE VALLEY” is another classic from way back when, (1937 actually.) It all sounds very authentic (with the exception of the blazin, guitar solo and the organ of course). Unfortunately I’ve no idea who provides the vocal duties on this track, but they blend in seamlessly and give a certain timeless quality to this piece. Clocking in at over six minutes, this is the longest number on the album. A little over long maybe ? Fear not, we are offered salvation (brothers and sisters), in the form of a pleasant guitar solo which brings this journey back in time, to its conclusion.
I can totally understand why this album is called “Influence”. Before I had even registered the title or the “Artiste”, (Yes folks I do have a rather funny way of reviewing these CDs), I was quite overcome by the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that this opus evoked in me. I was instantly transported back to those heady days of the late Sixties and early Seventies when, sporting inanely wide flares, a scraggy beard and hair down to my knees, I roamed the earth, (well Lancashire, England actually), in search of live music. That thirst was satiated (for the most part), by the frequent concerts I attended In Manchester and nearby Bolton. It doesn,t really matter whether you’re an interpreter or an innovator, this guy has all the bases covered. This album, for me, evokes many of those early memories and many of those styles which seemed to be around in abundance at that time are once again reprised to glorious effect here. Enjoy!!!!!!