Review: Kenny Dubman – 'Reckless Abandon'

Jon Bon Jovi reportedly once told the audience at a gig in Detroit that the band’s smash hit ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ was inspired by Bob Seger’s ‘Turn The Page’, an emotional tale about a musician being on the road and the detachment that brings. That might be true, or it might have just been Mr Jovi blowing smoke up the ass of a partisan audience by name dropping the local hometown hero… who knows and, to be honest, who cares. But if you dig a little bit deeper, and you know your 1980’s melodic rock bands, then the name Prophet might just ring a few bells. Check out ‘Slow Down’ on YouTube. Do the the guitar parts seem familiar in any way? The acoustic intro set off any alarm bells? Need me to spell it out? It bares more than an uncanny resemblance to Jon’s tale about having a six string on his back, despite being released a year prior to ‘Slippery When Wet’, if my dates are correct. Maybe it’s sheer coincidence, or maybe Jon had the song stuck on repeat on his walkman.. but goddamn, it sure is eerily familiar. Playing guitar in Prophet was Kenny Dubman, and now he is back with his debut solo album. The hair might have less hairspray in it, but, by jove, it’s great to have him back. 70’s hard rock is my favourite era, so any album that tips its hat to the glory days of Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, and Tom Petty will always attract my attention. Kenny Dubman gets off to a blistering start with ‘Ain’t To Late For Memphis’. Static from a vinyl record and some bluegrass acoustic give way to a slamming opening riff. I swear that my trousers gain an extra inch or two at the bottoms, and the room starts to smell of joss sticks and patchouli oil. Kenny Dubman has a devilish, world weary, raspy voice that impresses from the off, but it’s the chunky riffs that garner the most attention… especially when he lets fly at the three minute mark. ‘Devils Brew’ features a thick keyboard sound that is crucial to the song in the same way that Jon Lord was to Deep Purple or Benmont Tench to The Heartbreakers. Even though this is a guitarist’s album, it’s more about the songs rather than the histrionics, and ‘Angel Of Mercy’ is a song that gradually builds upon a soft intro into an emotional tale, with some gentle guitar breaks. ‘Brother Against Brother’ has a marching stomp of a beat as Kenny Dubman tells a tale of families during the American Civil War “Brother against brother, broken hearted mother, blue and grey will die today for the sins of their fathers”. I love slide guitar, and ‘Son Of A Colt 45’ features some rather nifty slide solos from Dubman mixed in with more of his beefy, chunky riffs. Very Southern Rock in it’s execution with some Joe Walsh sized riffs. ‘Wolf At The Door’ seems like a royal “fuck you” to someone who has crossed the dubmeister, and it’s fair to say that he seems to have learned his lesson, ‘fool me once…’ and all that. ‘Three Little Words’ begins with an “old-timer” style vocal from Dubman, like it was recorded in a DIY recording booth in Nashville. It’s a spritely, acoustic driven jaunt along the road, which certainly gets the feet tapping. ‘Little Venom’ takes the listener back to the 70’s with some vintage guitar playing, and on ‘Sunset Serenade’, the gorgeous Hammond returns, on what seems like quite a reflective moment from Kenny. ‘Ghost On The Wind’ has a classic 80’s rock vibe about it… back when rockstars wanted to be rockstars, and less whiny than de rigueur of today. The album closes with ‘After The Bomb Fell’. Another gentle acoustic intro gives way to some uplifting extended solos from Kenny Dubman as he bows out in a more laid back fashion than the way that the album opened. To call the album hugely enjoyable would be a slight understatement.
‘Reckless Abandon’ is available as a download from Amazon, but maybe you should consider the physical product from Kenny’s own site, as he sells it so well… “Why buy a physical CD instead of a download? 1.Awesome packaging 2.16 page colour lyric booklet with liner notes 3. After you wear it out, load it into your skeet shooter and blast it out of the sky with your .12 gauge”   Review: Dave Stott

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