Released by: Escape Music
Release Date: January 20th, 2012
Genre: Blues Rock/Melodic Rock
All Lead & Background Vocals – Lee Small
Guitars – Carl Anthony Wright, Des Sherwood, Lee Small
Keyboards – Paul Bradder
Bass – Lee Small
Drums – Imre Daun
The Captain’s Quarters
Walk the Plank
Shine A Light
Dead Man Walking
I am the sea
Waiting for the Hangman
End of the road
The Renegade Accordion Player
Lee Small maybe a voice recognizable to some in the Melodic Rock/Hard Rock scene, but he is certainly not the most prominent, why you may ask? Good question because as one of the finest voices to come out of West Midlands in the U.K, a place that has produced a gem of talent in rock music & heavy metal, such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Robert Plant, Magnum, John Bonham, Slade, Mel & Tom Galley & the voice of rock, Glenn Hughes to name just a few, you would think his voices would of resonated across circles left and right. But don’t overlook Mr Small as he has slowly but surely been building a quite a career since fronting the band Pride in the 90’s to his other efforts from Escape Music in the groups Surveillance, Cloven Hoof, Shy and Phenomena.
His voice has an eery comparison to the great Glenn Hughes, a super smooth jazzy bluesy root that enhance his vocal delivery making an instinctively recognizable vocal delivery when he takes the mic each time. To me Lee has build a fine reputation for quality music and here finally has released his own solo record through Escape Music the label that recognize his talent a few years back, his new album is titled “Jamaica Inn”.
On his new solo album Small brings in some special guest friends the likes of Martin Kronlund of Gypsy Rose, Imre Daun Drums (Don Patrol, Gypsy Rose) Paul Bradder, Keyboard (Saracen) to help out this round contribution. Lee has been able to tackle any type of style whether is melodic rock or hard rock, here these bluesy rock tunes are more fitting to his vocal atonement and style even though I prefer the genres mentioned earlier myself.
The opening tunes are more transient in style, both the self title tune and “The Captain’s Quarters” are both slower bluesy numbers. The ballad of “Shine a Light” sails through with breeze and a smooth guitar solo lead that turns the track into a laid back churner of melodious proportions. The guitar leads keep dominating the structure of songs like “Voyager” a crisp sound fills through my speakers and along with the Small wails; makes this song one of the best on the album. Another prime cut comes via the cover tune of “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, yes I know odd but it works reflectively well and shows Small’s versatility.
Jamaica Inn has it’s good moments and some are just average in my honest opinion. I would of probably wanted Lee Small to have a few more hard rock tunes here but since the overall vibe of the record is chilled and with a sailing type of laid back environment songwriting going on, I can’t ding it too bad. If we focus on Small and his vocals then you know he does a superb job just like on anything else he has ever done, but if you’re a fan of the recent CD from Shy, then you won’t find many similar songs at all. I like the fact that Lee played the bass here as well since he started playing bass originally when he was 14 years old. The overall mood of the record is very melodic but with a bluesy type of mood, again is personal preference I would of liked more uptempo tunes but that’s just me. Here’s waiting for more Small contributions and see where he’s career takes him this time around.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 7/10
Sample from Jaimaca Inn by Lee Small – Voyager
For the complete album samples go to Melodic Rock!!!