One of our favorite blues artists, Detroit-born, former Motown signed, and (now) Britain based Marcus Malone — voted the Best Male Vocalist of 2018 — whose work with singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Innes Sibun in MALONE SIBUN we’ve described as a “collaborative roistering that rubs shoulders with pious contemplation…” has contribted to an exciting new project (with two talented musicians) for a debut album, titled BLACK PEARL
For the emerging project, Malone collaborates with guitarist/songwriter Muddy Manninen. Before launching a solo career, Muddy had written and recorded for Wishbone Ash and toured the world with the famous twin-harmony guitar blues-rockers. The musician left Wishbone Ash in the spring of 2017.
For the new project, Marcus also collaborates with music promoter, songwriter and broadcaster Pete Feenstra, a polymath thinker, and an ever-championing bulwark of the British blues & blues-rock scene who, in his Black Pearl guise, showcases incredible lyricism and soulful poeticism.
a tinsel slide of gliding guitars, strutting rhythms & succulently sashaying tonicity…Raw Ramp Music Magazine
Originally conceived as a songwriting enterprise between Muddy and the songwriting Mr. Feenstra, guitarman/singer Marcus came aboard the H.M.S. Black Pearl a little later on, to add unparalleled tonality and euphonious expressiveness to a model that spans rock, blues, funk, gospel, American and Latino.
The album’s opener, “Angel Town” is a tinsel slide of gliding guitars, strutting rhythms and succulently sashaying tonicity. The voice is rough like rawhide, though softened by brandy, and the atmosphere has a hidden musculature about it. The song is about surviving the intensity and pressure of the metropolis (with L.A. serving as an intractable backdrop) — so this makes for exceptional guitar dazzles, along with a growing sense of tension and physicality.
“Cheap Perfume” is a night out in the aforementioned “Angel Town.” The country-style twanger has symmetrical rhythms, a vibe of freedom, and irresistible guitar work.
“Delivery Man” is a quality track, with competent keys, effective rhythms and smoky quartz vocals. It’s very reminiscent of Little Feat with Lowell George style honey-flickers all across it. A beckoning delight!
“Handmade Pearl” has a debonair groovy-melancholic feel to it. Marcus’s vocal is exquisitely expressive and even a little museful. Yep, unlike the buzz of Angel Town, this one is quiet-town contemplative!
Another stand-out track on Black Pearl is “Price on Love”. Muddy’s arrangement on the number is gorgeous, with sighs & whispers of guitar; while the vocals are smooth as warm ginger but dry as horsehair; thus filling the song with dimensionality and providing anchor for the gorgeously soulful chorus that brings delight to an entire piece. This number is sophisticated and handsomely dapper!
If you’re looking for mature and meticulous instrumentation, smooth rhythmic performances, remarkable vocals, lyrical soul, and the kind of guitar translucency that others can only dream of then we urge you to look to the rare Black Pearl.
For fans of Wishbone Ash, Ry Cooder, Pure Prairie League
Words: @neilmach 2022 ©