Jim Capaldi

Let the Thunder Cry

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Although multi-instrumentalist Jim Capaldi (keyboards/drums/guitars/vocals) is arguably best known for his work with Traffic, he began an extensive and varied solo career in 1972 when Traffic came to a proverbial stand still. Almost a decade on, Capaldi's Let the Thunder Cry (1981) was among the efforts initially released on the French indie Carrere label. Like its predecessor, The Sweet Smell Of ... Success (1980), it proved more difficult for Stateside enthusiasts to find, prior to being issued on CD. Capaldi draws upon a wide spectrum of personnel ranging from longtime collaborator Chris Parren (keyboards) to U.K. session heavies Andy Newmark (drums) and Mel Collins (sax) to Traffic bandmates Rebop (aka Rebop Kwaku Baah) (percussion) and Steve Winwood (keyboards). As the opening "Let the Thunder Cry" and the closer "Anxiety" exemplify, Capaldi has not lost his ability to churn out edgy rockers. Conversely, "Old Photographs," "Child in the Storm" and the ethereally beautiful "Warm" demonstrate his tragically underutilized penchant for emotive balladry. One of the catchier selections is the amiable Brazilian homage "Favella Music," directly contrasting the mostly forgettable remake of "Louie Louie." The update of the 1960s garage anthem is dusted off to little or no fanfare. The interpretation suffers immediately from the synthetic keyboard organ intro and ersatz drum machine -- both ultimately fail to ignite the reckless spirit of the original with the same incendiary innocence that has graced the infinite numbers of erstwhile covers. The mid-tempo "Only Love" would have fit in with the early-'80s pop milieu, yet was inexplicably passed by for the comparatively unassuming "Child in the Storm." Overall however, this outing would become the basis for Capaldi's next project, Fierce Heart (1983), spawning the Top 20 hit "That's Love" on what is otherwise an equally strong collection. Interested parties should note that Let the Thunder Cry [Bonus Tracks] (2003) boasts several supplementary non-LP sides as well as an entire bonus CD with a dozen-song live set from Capaldi and Dave Mason (guitar/vocals) circa their 40,000 Headmen tour in 1996.

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