Album Reviews

Diesel – Under The Influence

Released By : Liberation Records

Genre : Blues, Blues Rock

Links :


01.  Spanish Castle Magic

02.  Cross Cut Saw

03.  I’m A Ram

04.  Have Love, Will Travel

05.  Thang

06.  Can’t Get Next To You

07.  Cinnamon Girl

08.  Thang 4

09.  Wind Cries Mary

10.  Going Down

11.  Reconsider Baby

12.  It’s All In The Game

13.  Caladonia

14.  Rumble

15.  Thang 6

While the story of Mark Lizotte A.K.A Johhny Diesel may be a long and winding one which includes many ups and downs, fans that have followed his career thus far would definitely not be surprised that he has chosen now as the time to record an album that pays tribute to the guitar heroes of the past that have influenced his sound from day one.

Though the early years of DIESEL were spent with funked-up Aussie pub rockers THE INJECTORS, and his last decade or so have been spent in a more middle of the road acoustic based style, the sound of American blues has always been evident in his music one way or another. His credibility as one of Australia’s best blues axe slingers was solidified back in 1996 as part of a joint project with another Aussie blues hero in Chris Wilson, when they released the blues based album SHORT COOL ONES to critical acclaim. DIESEL then revisited the blues in 2009 with the release of PROJECT BLUES : SATURDAY SUFFERING FOOLS, which once again had the critics singing his praises.

Now, whilst UNDER THE INFLUENCE is certainly not a straight blues album by any stretch, tributes to guys like JIMI HENDRIX, ALBERT KING, and ERIC CLAPTON ensure that there is plenty on offer here for blues heads around the world. Interestingly enough there is also cuts from artists as varied as NEIL YOUNG, THE TEMPTATIONS and AL GREEN, but each is given a touch-up with the funky blues trademark sound of DIESEL.

The most exciting aspect of this album however is the fact that DIESEL sounds as potent and energetic as ever before after spending quite some time in a rather stripped-down largely acoustic based trapping. The loose and raw stylings of the production also go a long way to giving this album a powerful and enjoyable sound, and let’s not forget the awesome backing band who just simply get it right the whole way through the album’s 15 tracks. Speaking of tracks let’s have quick look at what I think are the pick of the bunch here… There’s two JIMI HENDRIX tracks here that share the top billing in SPANISH CASTLE MAGIC and THE WIND CRIES MARY, there’s the great version of HAVE LOVE, WILL TRAVEL which features a guest vocal from DIESEL’S brother-in-law JIMMY BARNES, and there’s also a couple tracks in CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU and CALADONIA which manage to include a horn section without compromising the energy and looseness that makes the rest of the album so enjoyable. There’s a handful of short instrumental tracks scattered throughout the disc too in THANG 4, THANG 5 and THANG 6 and whilst each of these are great showcases for the varied talents of DIESEL they seem to add a little too much weight to an album that could have probably done without them.

DIESEL fans will be well pleased with what UNDER THE INFLUENCE has to offer and I would like to think that anybody that has an interest in classic rock and blues rock would find much to like too. As a long-time fan of all things DIESEL, this new album definitely grew on me and all I can hope now it that is helps start a new era for the man and maybe we will even get an all-new fully electric original album from him in the near future.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 8/10

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