Friday, May 9, 2014
I am way too old for hero worship or to lust after an even older rock n' roller, but damnit there's something about Mr. Fast Eddie Clarke and his playing that turns me into a giggly schoolgirl. I'm one step away from drawing the “Fastway” Logo on my jacket and dotting my “i's” with hearts. But it's all cool; As long as his wife doesn't get a restraining order to keep me away from her husband (I kid I kid).
If you dig around elsewhere on this very blog, you will find the first article I ever wrote for the Mighty Ripple Effect, all about how and why I feel the way I do about Mr. Fast. I haven't met him yet, so it's not like I have any sort of personal connection with him or “moment” like I do with Trevor Bolder (Oh yeah I wrote about him too). But this isn't about me and unrequited love, it's about what may sadly be the last album put out under the “Fastway” banner.
Resurrecting Fastway was a labor of love, and something singer/bassist/producer Toby Jepson helped Eddie with because he truly believed in him and wanted him to get back in the spotlight. Actually Fastway were around in another form (Still with Toby and Eddie) as far back as 2007 when they played a few festivals in England and Japan with Mama's Boy's bassist John McManus and drummer Steve Strange. There are some video clips of this lineup on Youtube and while it's not perfect, it's the spirit that counts. You just have to ignore the narrow minded comments comparing Toby with original vocalist Dave King.
When it came time to record the album, the band was paired down to a trio with Toby's “go-to” drummer, Matt Eldridge on the skins. All the songs are co-written by Toby and Eddie, with the duo sharing the production credits.
“Eat Dog Eat” is a good solid hard rock album with some slower, bluesy tracks like “Love I need” and “Dead and Gone”. Eddie's playing really shines, like he got his “mojo” back after poor health and years of rough living caught up with him, actually the playing by all three musicians is top notch. There are a lot of great songs on here, my favorites are, “Leave a Light On”, “Sick as a Dog” and “Freedom Song”. As a long time fan, I was so excited to see the band was back and prayed to any deity that would listen for them to come to the US (or at least, New York) . Then I started reading online how this was less and less likely to happen until finally Eddie said the band was basically over. Toby posted something on his blog about moving on to other projects and that was it. It's such a shame because this was such a great album that got overlooked. A lot of work obviously went into it, but sometimes things happen for reasons beyond the musicians control. I know all parties involved are extremely proud of this record, so that's something. If you're reading this and you like good old fashioned rock and roll, then do yourself a favor and pick this record up. You won't be disappointed.