Gilby Clarke

Gilby Clarke

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Capitalizing on his sudden shot to stardom as a member of the TV supergroup Rock Star: Supernova, Gilby Clarke cobbled together this eponymous 2007 release, a collection of highlights from Pawnshop Guitars, The Hangover, Rubber, and Swag, plus his Col. Parker band and its 2001 album, Rock n Roll Music, all given remixes that might not have really been needed. Thrown into the mix is a version of "Black" that has been re-recorded with Dilana, the ferocious finalist from Rock Star, which gives fans of the show an incentive they might need to check this out since Clarke's music doesn't sound all that much like the glammy, fizzy pop of Rock Star: Supernova. On his own, Clarke has always stuck pretty close to loose, ragged '70s rock, equal parts Stones and Faces tempered by a dose of Aerosmith, and he not only celebrates this in his sound but he romanticizes it with his songs. There are tunes about parties and hangovers, about "Punk Rock Pollution" and "Bourbon Street Blues," about being stuck in the "Tijuana Jail" and how if "It's Good Enough for Rock n' Roll" it's good enough for him. If Clarke doesn't really find a new way to come up with classic spins, his love of classic rock is plenty endearing, even if his results are uneven. He's just as likely to kick out generic bloozy L.A. metal or vaguely psychedelic glam pop (think a less haunted, less flamboyant Weiland) as he is to lay back and deliver giddy, loose rock & roll worthy of Ronnie Wood or Izzy Stradlin, and this comp showcases both sides. If the latter is stronger than the former -- songs like "Skin n' Bones," "Can't Get That Stuff," "Bourbon Street Blues," the Stonesy "Dropping Out," and "It's Good Enough for Rock n' Roll" aren't only better written, the performances are stronger -- he's still likable when he does heavier stuff because of that sincerity. Which is why his thin, plain voice is an attribute, not a detriment: it makes Gilby seem like your hometown barroom hero made good, makes him seem like a true believer. As the new "Black" proves, Dilana is a better singer, perhaps even a more charismatic singer, but Gilby is a better vocalist for his own stuff: he simply seems like somebody who loves rock & roll, and that love shines through his solo career even when the music doesn't click, as this good, accurate overview proves.

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