Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Paul Rodgers: Cut Loose

Perhaps to prove that he still had something to offer, Paul Rodgers’ first solo album, which arrived only a year after the last, disappointing Bad Company album, was presented as a one-man band. Everything on Cut Loose, including drums and all the lead guitars, were supposedly played by him and him alone. We knew he was good, but we didn’t know he was that good. (Plus, the shorter hair and trimmed unibrow made a striking statement amidst the uninspired, Hipgnosis-free cover art.)
A blast of tight, distorted guitar opens “Fragile”, before switching gears into the galloping verse; both sections are better than the lyrics, which don’t have a lot to say, but we don’t look to this guy for deep philosophy anyways. The title track has the same theme of “Movin’ On”, “Run With The Pack” and plenty of his other “road” songs, and it’s easy to imagine this with Badco. “Live In Peace” will be familiar to anyone who bought the second Firm album; the big difference is that the drums play the same rhythm all the way through instead of the dynamic bombast the band brought to it. It’s even got a decent solo. “Sweet Sensation” is a little wimpy—maybe it’s the drum machine—but ends up being pretty catchy. “Rising Sun” is based around a repetitive piano motif with classical undertones, but after several repeats (because, after all, “no mountain is too high, no river is too wide”) it starts to resemble the Psycho theme.
“Boogie Mama” is about as generic as you can get, and was also covered by The Firm at their first concerts. So was “Morning After The Night Before”, which is a much better song until you realize he’s playing the opening arpeggio from “More Than A Feeling”. “Northwinds” finds him back on the road in another song made for his old band, while “Superstar Woman” was actually left over from their first album. Finally, one can be excused for dreading what “Talking Guitar Blues” could be on an album like this, but it’s a harmless strut along the lines of “Rock Steady”. It even ends with a smattering of applause.
Virtually ignored at the time, Cut Loose helps to cleanse the palate after the sterile thud of Rough Diamonds, particularly if you’re not expecting much. It certainly puts him in a positive light, and much more than the strutting rooster stereotype he’d filled up till this point. But even the mild interest in The Firm a few years later didn’t help it sell.

Paul Rodgers Cut Loose (1983)—3

No comments:

Post a Comment