Fred James

Life Is Hard

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Guitar slinger extraorinaire Fred James produces a solo album that really is a solo album here, playing and singing all the parts as well as writing the majority of the material. The grooves move from rock'n'roll to country to blues to rockabilly and others that fall in the cracks between genres, but James' playing is always spot on, tone for days and deft and sure and every step of the way. More importantly, at no time does this one man band sound like there's just one person overdubbing, the music moves unencumbered and freely with pockets deep and simple. Highlights include "Heat Up The Oven," "You Got The Walk," "Everybody's Gettin' Them Some" (the latter tune covered separately by Junior Wells and Bonnie Raitt), "You're Gonna Burn," the atmospheric "Indigo," and the closing "Strength To Stand Alone." A solid outing from beginning to end.

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