FRANK McCLOUD & THE MEMPHIS TWO - SINGING MAN
Frank McCloud - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar Rockin' K - Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals Horst Gauer - Upright Bass / Backing Vocals Mixed by Johnny Bluth at "Running Gun Recordings" in 2019 Available now from: www.frankmccloud.de https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WckZdUN0n-Y Reviewed by Billy, 7th February 2023
This album is a tip of the Stetson to one of music’s all-time greatest icons. A collection of covers & tributes to the man in black, done in a real campfire country style. Get Rhythm A Cash classic we all know & love. This cover doesn’t deviate too far from the original but there is a lovely piano break which helps set it apart from the famous guitar solo of Luther Perkins. The vocal delivery to me sounded more reminiscent of Jerry Reed. I couldn’t help but imagine Jerry doing a cover exactly like this as part of Johnny’s TV show of the late 60’s/early 70’s. Fantastic stuff & a very strong introduction. The Singin’ Man The title track is a great ode to how artists carry their heroes on stage with them. Whether consciously or not, every performer is influenced by those that came before & this song encapsulates that perfectly. It features a lovely guitar break that is part Luther Perkins/ part Grady Martin, all set to the classic Tennessee two rhythm. Boom-chika-Brilliant. The Rebel Johnny Yuma Stirrups on for this one. The theme song originally recorded by Cash for the early 60’s TV show “The Rebel” is sure to leave all you rooter ‘n’ tooters with a heavy sense of nostalgia. Rock n Roll Ruby Written by Cash & recorded by Warren Smith, Rock n Roll Ruby is one of my all time favourite rockabilly tracks. Fortunately, Franks “good ol’ country boy” style of singing, makes this cover worthy of anyone’s time. Ballad of Paladin A Johnny Western track that was also given the instrumental treatment by Duane Eddy. I notice from his website that Frank has gotten the personal seal of approval from Johnny Western himself. The haunting vocal delivery conjures images of shadowy figures on horseback against the desert sky at sunset.
Cash Medley Folsom prison blues, hey porter & I walk the line are all seamlessly sampled in this medley. Johnny Cash may be the focus of this promo CD, but make no mistake; Frank McCloud is a fantastic singer in his own right.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have played Cash covers with various bands, only for the singer to drop an octave & start machine gunning the front row with their guitar. Although he clearly possesses a deep baritone of his own, it never feels like Frank is doing a cheap impersonation. These tracks could almost have come from his loving contemporaries (think “missing ol’ Johnny Cash” by Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson). This collection is short & sweet, with most tracks only just clearing the 2 minute mark, but like the great man said; “when I feel like my song is sung….”