John Michaelz: So far, so good…
Reviewed by Tony Moon
“So far, so good…” is a road map to the musical journey Mr Michaelz has travelled over the past 25 years.
As the man puts it himself: “These songs in some crazy twisted way so far somehow sum up my life.”
Before I go any further, I have to say that I have a fairly jaundiced view of ‘best of’ collections, finding them (mostly), to be either cynical machinations to further cash in on long past glories, or self indulgent, narcissistic attempts at justifying pieces of music that achieve no greater merit upon repeat release. “So far, so good…” is neither of those things. It is as the title states, John Michaelz so far, and for my money, so very good.
My first listen of this CD left me feeling a little confused and uncomfortable. Excepting the last three songs, the track listing draws chronologically from Mr. Michaelz’s back catalogue (and various musical vehicles from Hard to Handle to Stone Babies to Kosher to solo), and as such, initially felt a little like disparate and dissociate clusters of tracks lacking in connection and continuity. Subsequent auditions (through speakers as opposed to headphones), served to reveal the obvious… no matter the stylistic spins or flavourings, this music is informed by the blues, and wonderfully, strangely, magically, hangs together. From hard driven blues rock to hallelujah country blues; funky sleaze rock to dub’d up rock; punk blues to chuggin’ electric; even a taste of acoustic latino café stylings; such a smorgasbord of styles should sound fractured and fragmented, but amazingly, astonishingly, doesn’t.
And so it is ladies and gentlemen… the life and times (so far) of Mr. John Michaelz, starring as rock and ruin, slither and sleaze John; down-home, stomp it out, good ol’ boy Johnny; brother John wailin’ the gospel to the hallelujah chorus; and many more. Most ably and excellently aided and abetted by a collaboration of master musical cohorts second to none.
So far, so very, very good! In the immortal words of Oliver Twist: “Please sir, can I have some more?”
The Weekend Sun has a personal invitation for one reader and a friend to attend the official launch party of So far, so good... at No.1 The Strand on July 6 for the lucky reader who can tell us the name of one of the bands John Michaelz has been a member of.
Entries must be received by June 20.
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