Phil Lee

You Should Have Known Me Then

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Many fans of "classic rock" complain that labels just don't record stuff like that anymore. While this may be partly true, there's a bigger picture. Take Phil Lee. He sounds a bit like Tom Petty, plays a mean guitar, and never forgets to keep things close to the blues. But while You Should Have Known Me Then may sound like the classic stuff, it's no longer called rock. It's "alternative country" and "roots music." Whatever. Once one sticks the disc in the player and hears "Good for Me" come rolling and tumbling out of the speakers, he or she will know what it is. "Babylon" continues in the same vein, laying down some steady rocking, complete with background organ and a harp solo worthy of Dylan. A rough charm characterizes Lee's vocals, infusing everything he sings with authenticity. He's also a heck of a writer who has fun playing with rock & roll's propensity toward misogamy. "2 for the Price of 1" begins with "I had a wife and a girlfriend" but the singer isn't bragging. A misplaced phone call guarantees that this overreaching soul loses "two for the price of one" in this cautionary tale. Skeptics can be forgiven for wondering if Phil Lee is the real thing or if he's just regurgitating old Rolling Stones/Small Faces licks from the early '70s. The truth is, his career dates back to this earlier era, which is probably why his albums sound like classic rock. So You Should Have Known Me Then is the real thing, guaranteed to please fans of The Mighty King of Love and anyone else who loves pre-punk, pre-metal rock.

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