Paul Barrere & Roger Cole "Riding The Nova Train"
Review by Claus Stender – Hamburg, Germany (rewritten 2013-11-11 but only a very small part)
I love this album and I'm really happy to have the train at home in my station!!!
After the release of the last Little Feat album "Rooster Rag" in 2012 I wondered why Paul Barrere was given songwriter credits on one song only and that is "Just a Fever" written by Paul with the late Stephen Bruton. Sure he produced the CD with Bill Payne and his guitar playing is prominent but I can remember only one album - even in the Lowell George era - where he participates on one song only and this is his first record with Little Feat "Dixie Chicken" (Paul made jokes about starting in Little Feat with a "Chicken" and "left" on a "Rooster")!
That all (could) made more sense as Paul Barrere announces his hiatus from Little Feat 'cause of his health problems and following therapies. And Paul told he had recorded an album over the last seven years together with Roger Cole and they plan to release it soon. It's called "Riding The Nova Train" and was produced by Paul & Roger. Roger was also responsible for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering of the album. So in the first weeks of 2013 the album was released.
And "Riding The Nova Train" is definetely no Little Feat record! It's more blues based and more a rock record with fantastic guitar playing on 10 strong tracks. No other member of Little Feat is part of the game. Paul and Roger wrote all of the songs together only "In My Time Of Dying" is a traditional with an arrangement by both of them and "Why You Wanna Do Me" was written together with the late Stephen Bruton.
Tom Hardistry is on drums most of the tracks and on bass it's Pete Griffin. Most of all rhythm guitars are played by Roger Cole and he sings the background vocals, plays percussion, synth and plays bass on tracks 3 and 4. Paul Barrere sings lead and background, plays the lead-guitar and a little rhythm. To be complete: Percussion on track 1 by Ed Kannon, Joe Travers drums on track 2, Kenny Pierce drums on 3 and on track 5 the drums are played by Ed_I_Ted.
"Again And Again" is the first song of "Riding The Nova Train" and the great lyrics can only be written by men who lived parts of their lifes to the fullest. With all the "Ups and Downs" of a life on the fast lane, and to survive these times and reflect on them. The same could be told about the title track "Riding The Nova Train". You have to reach an age to write songs like this and from Paul I can "take it from someone who's been there and knows". (Ha, I've been there, too. That's why I'm in the HepC Club, too!)
Maybe it's a little too private but I ask myself: Does the HepC desease of Paul had any influence on the songwriting? I think "No". It's the coming of age and the rich lifes Paul and Roger lived that leads to this kind of lyrics.
Track 2 is called "Better Daze" and Paul & Roger named their own label "Better Daze Records" after this song. The song played live will be a crowd pleaser and I hope I'll ever get the chance to hear this song in a concert! A fantastic track with a riff that'll get you instantly.
The traditional "In My Time Of Dying" is one of two acoustic songs with Pete Griffin on upright bass and Paul on vocals and guitar. The other one is "Why Ya Wanna Do Me" with bass and drums by Pete and Tom Hardisty but basically it's an acoustic track.
"Number Six Dance" is a beautiful song with fantastic lyrics, background vocals and great singing. One of my favourite songs of the album.
If one song would fit in the LF-catalog than it would be track 5 "One Eyed Jack" with his female counter part character "Two Dollar Jill". She "had the moves of a Mississippi Mamba" and "take a Tango and make it a Samba". It's the typical kind of humor of a Paul Barrere song. Even "rhythmically" it would fit on a Little Feat record. But this is no Little Feat record!
Thanks to the German customs I received the CD after 33 days(!), but since this day the disc is in heavy rotation and I have to force myself not to hear it too often.
I know that "Riding The Nova Train" will be a treasure in every collection! Get your copy at betterdazerecords.com
-11 out of 10 points