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GWYN ASHTON Two Man Blues Army (2009)

Gwyn Ashton

Two Man Blues Army is Australian fretmeister Gwyn Ashton's follow-up to 2007's universally acclaimed 'Prohibition' album.

While 'Prohibition' was a gleeful return to the joys of the '70s power trio, this is a significantly different beast - and I use the word 'beast' advisedly.

As the title suggests, Gwyn has ditched the bass guitar and has opted for Full-Frontal Guitar/Drums Attack Mode. Truth be told, I was feeling a little apprehensive after reading the sleeve notes, fearing a dumping of the Rory Gallagher cap-doffing in favour of a White Stripes soundalike with all the nakedly commercial crap that goes with it. How wrong can you be? This is blues/rock guitar assault of the highest order and I fu*king love it!

The album roars into life with 'Meltdown At The Hoo' - an instrumental name-check of every blues/rock style you've ever heard - and is followed by ten blistering tracks that every fan of the genre will gorge on like a hyena at a lion-kill.

Nine of the eleven tracks here are self-penned; the exceptions being incredible versions of Robert Johnson's 'Crossroad Blues' and Blind Willie Reynolds' 'Outside Woman Blues', both made famous by Cream, both blowing Cream's efforts clean out of the water. A little light and shade is added with the subtle acoustic slide of 'Junior Got a Blade', but normal service is resumed with the mercurial 'Ain't Nobody's Fool' and the guitar crash and burn of 'One Way Ticket To The Blues'.

It is unlikely that Gwyn Ashton will get either the plaudits or the commercial rewards that this effort deserves, but it is one of those rare albums that make you punch the air and yell 'Yeeeeessssss!!!!!' and for that reason alone he should be very proud of it.


Review by Alan Jones

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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