Andy Fairweather Low & The Lowriders - Zone-O-Tone (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
FOR Andy Fairweather Low, new album Zone-O-Tone marks a deeply personal journey that rolls back to the years to the era he came from.
The album is comprised of 12 new songs that were inspired by the music of Stax and Atlantic soul, The Four Aces, Josef Locke, Johnny Kidd, Lonnie Donegan, The Shadows and many more. And it’s been assembled with a dream team, of sorts, featuring Paul Beavis on drums (Thea Gilmore, Robbie Macintosh & Sunday All Over The World), Nick Pentelow on saxes and clarinet (Roy Wood, Roger Chapman and Gary Moore) and long-standing associate Dave Bronze on bass (Clapton, Concert For George, Dear Mr Fantasy tribute to Jim Capaldi). Oh, and Eric Clapton loaned a guitar!
The ensuing LP is unapologetically wrapped in nostalgia and, as such, arguably holds its greatest appeal to those who grew up listening to that music. There’s nothing with any contemporary kick.
The delivery is full of warmth and enthusiasm but there is a dated feel and this is strictly for the old-timers.
That said, there are some highlights. Mother Earth has a low-key intimacy that reminded me of Clapton’s Tears In Heaven, while Roll Ya Activator playfully toys with “I hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in” and is delivered with verve.
Breakin’ Chains, meanwhile, drops some of the fuzziest guitar licks on the LP and adopts a grittier vocal style that is welcome, while there’s a lot of soul attached to the brass-backed La La Music, as well as another down ‘n’ dirty vocal.
But these are the exceptions to an album that otherwise unfolds at a pace and tempo that is a little too leisurely.
Download picks: Mother Earth, La La Music, Breakin’ Chains, Roll Ya Activator