Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Stevie & The Saints - Metal Blue
   
Musical Style: Blues Based Hard Rock Produced By: Ken Roberts
Record Label: Victoria Ltd. Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 1987 Artist Website:
Tracks: 8 Rating: 80%
Running Time: 32:48

Stevie & The Saints - Metal Blue

My first impression of Stevie & The Saints dates back to the late eighties when I read a very favorable review of their full length debut Metal Blue in the late White Throne magazine.  Unduly impressed, I purchased a vinyl copy of the album and, after giving it several spins, placed it on the shelf- where it proceeded to collect dust the better part of the next several decades (a non functioning turntable will do that for you!).  While Stevie & The Saints had drifted into the backdrop of my memory over the years, I recently received an e-mail from the bands producer, Ken Roberts, advising me that Metal Blue was recently re-issued – and digitally re-mastered in the process – on CD.  Stevie & The Saints?  I remember these guys!  After placing a quick order at CD Baby, an online store specializing in independent music, a copy of Metal Blue was in my hands several days later.

Stevie & The Saints can best be described as blues but with a metal and hard rock edge.  Imagine ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Glenn Kaiser Band or the bluesier material from Resurrection Band but backed by a shredding guitar hero and a rhythm section as tight as they get.  Vocalist and lead guitarist Steve Olsen proves the driving force behind the band, decorating Metal Blue with his distinct blues laced rhythm guitar sound and abundant soloing abilities.  A masterful lead player, Olsen is at his best on up-tempo tracks hard rockers “We Are The Saints” and “Don’t Knock The Rock” in addition to the aptly titled instrumental “Saint’s Boogie” (a piece in which he really cuts loose!).  On the immaculate “One In One Hundred” he even gets involved in a tasteful lead guitar and keyboard duel.  As a vocalist, he contributes a scratchy and blues soaked vocal style that finds him staying mostly in low key territory– which suits the mood of the music here perfectly.  Drummer John Tinker, however, handles lead vocals on the driving sounds of “Code Name: Jesus” and presents a delivery that is on the smoother side of things.  Tinker, a heavy footed timekeeper as you will find, rounds out the rhythm section with the rumbling bass lines of Ken Kane.

Metal Blue, a low budget effort, reflects a slight thinness overall in terms of its production.  That being said, you will not find anything detracting here in that music of this type does not require a great deal of polish to begin with.

The album opens, appropriately, with “We Are The Saints”.  An up-tempo hard rocker that can best be described as the bands signature track, the song advances with a wealth of ardent momentum until culminating for a chorus in which an authoritative environment is put into place:

Said we’re gonna rock
We’re gonna roll
Yeah, cuz the good Lord Jesus
Died to save our souls

Olsen adorns the scene with his trademark high-octane lead guitar work.

The instrumental “Saint’s Boogie” also allows Olsen to showcase his tasteful licks and chops.  Super tight guitar harmony shores up this one its full distance, the scene only evening out when a passage is procured in which a fiery run of soloing leads the way.

“Code Name: Jesus” hammers its way forward from the start, driven ahead in imposing fashion on its way to a bountiful chorus that comes across near prevailing in capacity.  As previously stated, drummer John Tinker handles lead vocals here with a more even sounding vocal delivery.  “Code Name: Jesus” is aptly named:

Code Name: Jesus
A name you need to know
Code Name: Jesus
Never let you go

“One In One Hundred” begins to a keyboard solo before moving forward to some blues based riffing.  Tapering off to a groove flavored tempo for its verse portions, the song gains initiative as it acquires a chorus holding up under the strength of its smooth sounding allure.  A lengthy instrumental section is fortified by a trade off between a bluesy lead guitar and more highlighting keyboards.

The anthem “Don’t Knock The Rock” represents the albums heaviest track.  A no-nonsense number if there ever was one, “Don’t Knock The Rock” is thrust ahead by a metal laced rhythm guitar until peaking for a chorus with a message every bit as powerful as the music here:

Don’t knock the Rock
Cuz it aint gonna stop
Don’t knock the Rock
It makes the demons run
Don’t knock the Rock
It’s a weapon in our hand
Don’t knock the Rock
Cuz we’re makin’ a stand

A radiant stretch of lead guitar brings out the best in the high energy environment.

“Talkin Bout Love” jumps out of the gate to a stretch of blues laced riffing.  A plethora of laid back mid-tempo impetus takes over as the song gradually grinds ahead, the gritty atmosphere upheld for a chorus in which soulful female backing vocals make their presence felt.  Olsen again stretches and showcases his impassioned soloing abilities. 

“Jehovah Jireh” is a very well done – though hard rocking – remake of the classic hymn of the same name.  The song successfully maintains the spirit of the original while, of course, reflecting the influence of Stevie & The Saints signature blues based sound.

Initiated by a snarling wall of rhythm guitar, “Prisoner Of Love” tapers off upon procuring its first verse prior to making a transition to a fervent chorus backed by more soulful female vocal harmonies.  The rhythm guitar returns to the front of the mix to hold sway over an energetic instrumental section.  “Prisoner Of Love” finds the band making a statement of faith:

Been many a year since that fateful day
There’s one thing babe I just got to say
The winds have come and the storms have blown
But my feet are planted on the Cornerstone

Cuz I’m a prisoner…

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “We Are The Saints” (3:05), “Saint’s Boogie” (3:55), “Code Name: Jesus” (3:25), “One In A Hundred” (6:06), “Don’t Knock The Rock” (4:03), “Talkin Bout Love” (5:49), “Jehovah Jireh” (3:27), “Prisoner Of Love” (3:00)

Musicians
Steve Olsen – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Ken Kane – Bass Guitar
John Tinker - Drums 

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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