On his sophmore disc -an eclectic collection of his earliest songs- guitarist J.J. Vicars navigates his trademark guitar style through various musical landscapes,from blazing rockers to tender ballads and Jazz/Funk workouts. Further flexing his musical muscle he recorded the album at his own Jindaiji Monkey Studio playing all the instruments himself including layer upon layer of guitars.
BLEACH BLONDE BIMBO,a driving rocker with doubled rhythm guitars and over the top leads,opens the album and sets the tone for this guitar-orgy of a disc. An ode to a hot little number who "ain't got nuthin' under all that hair",the song that began life as an 'L.A. rock' guitar riff before being injected with a Cramps like B-movie vibe.
CRYIN' FOR YOUR LOVE switches gears into R&B mode for a paeon to unrequitted love. An insistent groove under sharp-toned leads puncuate a story of hopeless romance.
HEADED DOWN THE HIGHWAY is the musical score for the all-American road trip. On this James Gang-inspired number electric and acoustic rhythm guitars create a 'cruising the open highway' feel and underscore the tale of a young man leaving leaving everything behind to hit the road in search of himself,his 'call to adventure' echoed by searing slide guitar.
The elegiac ballad FALLEN ANGEL follows next,at first seeming to be about leaving a woman behind but eventually becoming a tale of loss and loneliness to vast to hold any single referent. The ending guitar solo builds the song to an emotional climax,searching desperately for something but not knowing exactly what.
The mood is lightened with SOUL SEARCHIN' an instrumental as refreshing as rain that began life as an Allmans/Santana-style composition and took on a Stevie Wonder/Prince-type arrangement during the recording. Three-part harmony guitars add grace and elegance to this simple understated melody while the middle section,originally intended to highlight African and Cuban percussion,gives a taste of Funk instead. One of the few songs from this disc ever to be performed live,several bootleg versions have been floating around for years.
The second highlight of the album is LOVERS IN SEASON. The first half is a fairly standard Jazz/Funk workout with a George Benson-esque solo in the middle. After a brief crescendo all the instruments drop away leaving the bass alone to outline a brooding two-chord vamp. A clean-toned rhythm guitar eases it's way in to complete the mood before the drums return and the guitar solo takes off. It climaxes in a crescendo of harmony guitars before the instruments slowly fade away returning the mood to its original state.
IT HURTS TO SAY GOODBYE is a tender ballad that could be about either a lover or a friend,it's unclear. The sad tale of leaving one behind is accented by mournful acoustic fingerpicking and a ghostly slide guitar that forebears the inevitable.
Better to go out with a bang and not a whimper,and that's exactly what J.J. does on the closing track CROSS THE LINE. A heavy rocker with doubled rhythm guitars and twin leads giving it an early-Skynyrd feel brings the album full circle. This time there's no sad lament of unrequitted love or loss and loneliness,only the bravado and swagger of a long haired tattooed Rock'n'Roller who's not about to let himself be outwitted by a conniving woman.
These songs are J.J. 's earliest,some of the first ones ever to come from his pen. The album had been in pre-production for many years but put on the back burner. The success of SCI-FI DINER allowed him to reach back and release his back catalogue of materia,this being the first of two. The recording was done during the Winter of 2005/2006 at his own Jindaijii Monkey Studio. Rather than try to teach the songs and arrangements to other musicians instead he opted to exploit the wonders of 21st Century technology and play all of the instruments himself. The studio surroundings produced both the title and the cover photos,the hot-rod hillbilly playing with all his hi-tech toys and gadgets.
Written,arranged,produced and performed by J.J. Vicars.
As well as recording,photography and artwork.