Kevin Morris, long-time Dr Feelgood drummer, has released a new album with his side project Shaman Spirits. Titled '...we are infants', the project's debut features a stellar line-up of gifted musicians, including current Eric Clapton bassist Dave Bronze, harmonica virtuoso Mark Feltham and former Dr Feelgood guitarist Gordon Russell.
The line-up is completed by Graeme Turner on saxophone, the Oysterband's drummer Dil Davies and vocalist Richard Watts, reminiscent of a young and soulful Paul Rogers.
Shamans are said to be able to communicate with spirits from other dimensions and distant worlds and '...we are infants' successfully weaves the gritty vibe of classic British R&B with a convincingly authentic essence of sepia-tinted Americana.
Kevin Morris steps out from behind his drum kit to add vocals plus acoustic and electric guitars to this powerful set of seven original tracks and two well chosen covers.
Lead-in track Beyond Mississippi sets the scene. A loping slow rocker wrapped in molten shard's of overdriven blues harmonica courtesy of Mark Feltham, Beyond Mississippi's yearning sound is in stark contrast to the cynical snarl of Political Life, a distinctly British-flavoured slice of driving R&B highlighted by Gordon Russellís meaty guitar breaks and Richard Watt's Paul Weller-esque vocal. A superb take on Dave Alvin's Run Conejo Run pulses with streetwise menace whilst a touchingly faithful version of Peter Green's reflective ballad Before the Beginning pays tribute to the British blues legend's genius.
Fans of Kevin Morris' past work with Dr Feelgood will dig the driving Yeah You! a stripped-back original whose clever key-changes are thrilling yet threatening thanks to some slinky sax breaks by ace horn player Graeme Turner.
Bassist Dave Bronze also brought his considerable talents to bear behind the mixing desk to co-produce the album recorded at Rimshot studios in Kent on a vintage Decca recording console. The warm stripped back tones highlight each track's unique personality yet maintain a crisp consistency with the result that '...we are infants' crackles and fizzes with a tightly focused sound and irresistible energy.
'...we are infants' isn't a blues album in the strictest sense but fans of powerful blues and R&B will still be knocked out by the flawless production, top-notch musicianship and a set of songs that rank among the finest recorded by the UK's best contemporary blues virtuosos.