Oh, man this guy creates some of the keenest rhythmic grooves of his genre, and with powerful full on vocals (but in a good way) he produces a stirring sound. He also writes wonderful hooky songs, and on partnered by incessant lead guitar and an amazing rhythm section (Christopher Nugent, drums: Winston Blissett, bass) plus Alan Glen on harmonica his sound is ever forceful, feisty and totally addictive.
Apart from his band, Malone also calls on Moz Gamble Hammond (organ, keyboards), Sean Nolan (rhythm, lead guitar solos) and Stuart Dixon (lead guitar solos) to make major contributions. Steeped in urban big city blues coupled with the occasional nod to rock and r&b boundaries merge, and often as not explode in spectacular fashion.
When it comes to highlights Malone throws up more than a few. From the off all guns are blazing as he speaks of “The House of Blues”, and though solid, the title-track “Better Man” can’t live with the likes of “Too Long Gone” and of a little less full-blown approach the keyboards peppered “Just Another Heartache” (that also contains some wonderful vocals from Malone, and burning solo from Nolan) and smoky blues gem “Feelin’ Bad Blues”. Loaded in harmonica, guitar and rhythm featuring terrific work on keyboards Malone is in fine fettle as he produces one of his best vocal tracks.
“Philomene” has a familiar feel to it with its strong infectious beat and excellent guitar from Nolan, and with the likes of “Complications” backing it up Malone has it nailed. “The Only One” sees him veer more towards pop and it too works well, steeped in tight harmonies and an early 1970s feel he may well have a radio hot on his hands.
Stout and of a r&b groove “Stand Up (Love Of Life)” likewise has a commercial feel to it, and with the likes of moody ballad “In Your Arms” and the smouldering “Can’t Go Back” (I love his vocals here) as he digs a little deeper the high standard holds. Enough to blow the listener away I hasten add. “Shine Your Light” in comparison sees him ease into a more commercial sound, interesting it is too. A sound some will like, and others feel less attracted to it.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan Malone has resided for about twenty years in the UK. During which time recorded six albums, and if they are all as good as A Better Man his fans can have no complaints.
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