Nikki Sudden / Nikki Sudden & the Last Bandits

Treasure Island

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Nikki Sudden must have been in seventh heaven when the Faces' keyboard boss Ian McLagan agreed to play piano and organ on select tracks from his 2004 garage-and-burn outing with the Last Bandits (John Clifford Barry on bass and Stephane Doucerain on drums), Treasure Island. Given his total Faces and Rolling Stones worship, Sudden must have been beside himself with joy. But Mac isn't the only legendary guest on the set. Along with old mates Dave Kusworth and Anthony Thistlewaite, former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and pedal steel ace B.J. Cole also lend a hand on the set. While it's true that Sudden gets little to no notice on American shores for his rootsy swagger and roll that takes the entirety of rock's grand yesteryear into its arms and wrings fresh life out of it with drunken joy and pathos, Sudden has made his share of fine recordings, and Treasure Island may his finest since Kusworth founded the Jacobites. There's the trashy swamp of "Kitchen Blues" with Taylor on guitars and the raggedly elegant balladry of "Stay Bruised," which Sudden himself deems "one of the hottest romantic numbers you'll ever hear." There's the sexed up wail of "Wooden Floor" with Mac on B-3 and Cole on steel and the spooky, Thislewaite mandolin-drenched darkness of "Russian River," the Last Bandits shambolic blues stroll in "High and Lonesome," and the faux-"Sweet Jane" doo wop Phil Spector-ism of "Fall Any Further" with Marie-Therese McCormack & the Girls crooning the chorus. What it adds up to is a rock & roll album of truly brilliant proportions -- you know, the kind people just don't make anymore. This one should be on the shelf between A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse and Goats Head Soup. Yeah!

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