Screaming Lord Sutch

Hands of Jack the Ripper

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As the most endearingly loony of the first wave of British rock stars, Screaming Lord Sutch was far closer to the glorious mania of early rockers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and the Phantom than anyone else in the U.K. in the late 1950s and early '60s, and his band was a training ground for some notable rock & roll gunslingers, including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Nicky Hopkins and lots more. However, while Sutch had a real genius for acting like a nutter, the truth was his musical talent never quite matched his crazed ambitions, and he was well past his prime when he cut Hands of Jack the Ripper in 1972. One of Sutch's more illustrious former employees, Ritchie Blackmore, stopped by to play guitar on these sessions, along with other friends and well-wishers including Keith Moon, Noel Redding and Matthew Fisher. (Sutch's original drummer Carlo Little also plays on these sessions; Little gave Moon drum lessons once upon a time, and was one of the few drummers Moon would admit to idolizing, though Little doesn't get to play at full power here.) The title cut is an enjoyably hammy bit of horror rock (though it goes on far too long), and "Gotta Keep A-Rocking" is a wonderfully shameless rip-off of "Don't You Just Know It," but the rest of Hands of Jack the Ripper is sadly plodding and incoherent; what someone needs to do is release a decent compilation of Sutch's '60s sides in the United States, since albums like this and Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends just don't do the man's weird legacy justice.

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