Ian McLagan

Best of British

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Rock & roll keyboard player Ian McLagan is best known as a member of the Small Faces and the Faces between 1965 and 1975, after which he worked as a backup musician to high-profile performers, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. His third solo album, which is his first in 20 years, sounds like you'd expect it to sound given his resumé. McLagan's singing voice is similar to those of mates like Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, and Ronnie Lane, a loose, lightly accented tenor with a rusty edge, and it is well-suited to his rollicking tunes, most of them rockers that put a little more emphasis on the piano or organ than is typical, but still sound like the sort of thing that you could find on records by his friends. Just as he is an adequate singer, McLagan is also an adequate songwriter, displaying the occasional flair, especially on the title track, an expatriate's warm-hearted tribute to his homeland, and "She Stole It!," a lament about a woman who left and took the singer's much-prized record collection with her. The Bump Band, augmented on occasion by such guests as Billy Bragg and Ron Wood, does a good job of playing the songs in the appropriate gutbucket manner. Best of British is an enjoyable album that sounds like what it is -- a busman's holiday by a talented sideman.

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