A soulful and mature album that is a must have for any fan of the contemporary blues scene.
Released by: Manhaton Records
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Ben Poole: Guitars, Vocals & Backing Vocals
Beau Barnard: Bass
Wayne Proctor: Drums
Ross Stanley: Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Piano, Synths
Anytime You Need Me
Take It No More
You Could Say
Found Out The Hard Way
Further On Down The Line
Start The Car
Don’t Cry For Me
Let Me Be
Hailing from the school of the modern British Blues scene, Ben Poole is an international blues-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist with a funky soul vibe about him. Preceded by the critically acclaimed albums Time Has Come (2016) and Live At The Royal Albert Hall (Recorded by the BBC in 2014), Anytime You Need Me is Ben’s latest album, due to be released on Friday 14th of September 2018 via Manhaton Records. Discussing the release, Ben explained, “There’s a rawness and edginess, but also a subtlety and intimacy. I think we captured what I’m all about with that album (Time Has Come), but with the new album the small but amazing team around me pushed me even further as an artist, and as a result we’ve created something way beyond what I could have ever imagined I was capable of.” This album certainly reflects the hard work that Ben Poole has put in over the past eight years, and is a testament to how he has grown as an artist.
Title track “Anytime You Need Me” sets a relaxed and funky tone which expands over the course of the album. Ben added that, “the message in the song is clear and simple. It’s about being there no matter what for those people you care about; be it friends, family, or your partner.” “Take It No More” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, with a gritty blues grind that permeates the song. “You Could Say” has been a long time coming, with Ben adding that, “the main riff in this song was something I’ve been playing around with for the past couple of years, and provided the basis for the song. However, this tune in particular certainly took a lot of work to get to where it is now. We spent a hell of a lot of time working on the main vocal melody, but as a result I think it’s one of the best melody’s I’ve ever written with a lot of interest both melodically and rhythmically.” This soulful tune will sound great on the radio. “Found Out The Hard Way” is a languid pop ballad, that stretches out into sweet harmonies, and Ben adds, “I’m extremely proud of the harmonies on this track in particular. I’ve also always loved moving the harmony from major to minor and vice-versa and this track is a perfect example of that where it goes major into the chorus which creates an emotional lift.” The funk-fuelled “Further On Down The Line” features vocals as smooth as caramel backed by crunchy fuzz and vibrato tones, thrumming bass, and punchy drums.
“Dirty Laundry” is the first of two covers on the album. A self-confessed Eagles and Don Henley fan, Ben wasn’t sure about covering his hero at first, but at the instance of co-writers Steve and Wayne, he decided to give it a try. The result makes for a faithful, but unique rendition of this classic song. It’s definitely the standout track on the album. “Start The Car” is the second cover on the album. The obscure hit for Jude Cole is brought to life by Ben and the band, and its infectious groove will get you up and out of your seat. This will no doubt be a live favourite in no time. Discussing the track, Ben said, “I’d actually never even heard of Jude Cole until Steve Wright told me about him and about this song in particular which Jude had a hit with in the 80’s. I thought the song was badass as soon as I heard it, even if the original production is a little dated now. The original has literally everything but the kitchen sink thrown onto it in terms of instrumentation and I thought it would be awesome to do a stripped back blues rock version of it with the basic four piece line up of drums, bass, guitar and keys. I also thought it fit really well in terms of lyrics, as well as style, with the rest of the songs we had written.”
Written by Steve Wright, “Don’t Cry For Me” is a melodic and sweet guitar ballad that really highlights Ben’s vocal prowess. “Let Me Be” Ben says, is “a song about that one person in your life who you’ll never be able to see eye to eye with, no matter how you might try. You’ll always just have to agree to disagree with them. I’m really proud of the work we did on the lyrics of this song in particular. The first of the two heavier songs tail ending this album, with more fuzz tones along with an octave pedal to give extra lows and highs to an already big sounding rhythm guitar.” Finishing off the album is “Holding On”. Discussing the song, Ben added that, “Originally, I thought about having this as the opening track on the album, but then decided it might be a little too much on the heavy side. Instead it’s the big closing statement of the album. The main idea came from a song I’d written a few years ago and we had actually been playing live for a while. We stripped it back to basics, changed the rhythm into this 6/8 feel inspired a little by Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression, and built it all up again from there. Lyrically it’s about following your hopes and dreams, and ignoring those people who doubt you in your life.” The measured and churning pace of the song truly brings that feeling to life and closes what has been a superb album.
Recorded at Superfly Studios in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, the album was produced by Wayne Proctor of King King fame, who also features on the drums. Discussing the album, Ben says, “It was an absolute joy to work again with Wayne. He has a great ear and knows me well as an artist, and the result is amazing.” Feeling that this album truly captures the essence of his live sound, as well as all the elements that come together to influence his song-writing, Ben sought to craft a sound that “showcases a lot of grit and a swagger, with special emphasis on guitar tones and instrumental performances.” While the primary focus was geared towards writing excellent songs, Anytime You Need Me seeks to place a finer focus on Ben as an artist, and the results are stunning. At times I was reminded of early Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr., and Walter Trout. Co-written with Wayne Proctor and Steve Wright, this is a soulful and mature album with a very radio-friendly sound and amazing production values. It is a must have for any fan of the contemporary blues scene.
Written by: Erik De’Viking
My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist
Erik De’Viking is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include rock and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.
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