Peter Gammons

Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old

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To be fair, Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old is easily the best album ever put out by a Baseball Tonight commentator or a Boston Globe columnist, and is undoubtedly the greatest album ever to feature outfielders Trot Nixon and Gabe Kapler as well as Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, but past those dubious milestones, it isn't a particularly exciting affair. Oh, Peter Gammons plays a nice bar band rhythm guitar, and he sings OK here, if not particularly distinctively, and he obviously has a passion for good rock & roll and knows a good song when he hears one, but all of that unfortunately doesn't add up a great album, or in this case, even a good one. Even with guests like Juliana Hatfield, George Thorogood, and Little Feat's Paul Barrére helping out, Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old fails to ever truly rise above merely competent, although it is that. Interestingly, the best track is the lone Gammons original, "She Fell from Heaven," which is an intriguing, well-written midtempo power ballad that suggests Gammons has some real potential as a songwriter. His version of the Clash's "Death or Glory" is another highlight, although mostly because the song is so good that it is probably impossible to completely strangle it out of existence. Gammons tries his best and the song works anyway. The two Chuck Berry covers, "Promised Land" and "Carol," also fare well here, but then how can you mess up Chuck Berry tunes as long as the guitars are in tune and the drummer is awake? Gammons has the passion, intelligence, and enough musicianship to play good rock & roll, and "She Fell from Heaven" proves he can write it, too. What he lacks is a voice with enough nuance to make it all come together, and when your backup singers are Red Sox outfielders, you better have nuance covered.

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