Ned has released 4 early albums in a one off deal for his contributors to his crowdfunding event to launch Glass Guitar (Vol 1). Digging up four Fretless Guitar albums from the 1990’s is almost archaeology, and they lack the professional finish of his albums in this century. Saying that, are these just for “Ned Heads” or are they worthy of a wider audience? I think the latter and some of the songs could deserve a reworking for later albums. Mind you Ned is so prolific it is doubtful he would run out of new material to record.
Stinking Up the Underground (1993)
Should really be considered an EP consisting of just four songs. Very early and at this point Ned is still developing his style. I guess this was a demo CD as it covers different styles.
Copeland in Motion – Pleasant ballad.
Genius – Nice blues based melody, my favourite on this album.
Stinking Up the Underground – Lyricly complex, nice backing.
Wedge – Nice middle eight.
Ditches and Discipline (1995)
If you thought Ned was just Middle of the Road Americana, well Ned goes all avant garde here. It is a nice diversion and I sort of wish he had developed more of this kind of sound. Out of the four albums I find this one the most interesting.
Carniverabus – Bizarre vocal monologue with some weird effects.
Comeon – I think this is a play on “Come Together” has a similar beat using noises, distorted vocals, etc..
Ditches – Guitar and sound effects.
Dremello – Sweet heavy tremelo, is that what a Dremello is? Instrumental.
Jackson – Bass with Fretless Guitar through a phaser. Instrumental.
Mealticket – Could have made it onto a Beefheart album. Instrumental with distorted vocalisations.
Nez Purse – “Fight no more Forever” vocal line dominates this spoken dialogue with chunky percussion.
Nucaroil – Sort of an advert for a product, spoken word over boiling oil effect.
Quillers – Lovely sound of a needle hitting vinyl repeatedly.
Revolution – Sort of retrospective song, distorted instrumentation.
Scenestealer – Spoken dialog and some very bizarre sounds, with frightening whispers, you have been warned!
Scissory – Again a mix of strange sounds with a good trancy beat.
Thin Band – Exactly what it says, very thinned out EQ wise, starts with a very Oasis style rythym guitar.
Hand of Kindness (1997)
Very much a country feel to this album, some great fretless playing with some very good lyrics, Ned is a great storyteller.
Smoke and Mirrors – Nice country feel to this one.
Clock – Another Ned story, getting more towards his Americana style, very nice fretless solo on this one with great hammond organ.
Blood Shot Willy – Racy country style, great song, BTW the title is entirely different in a UK context!
Juliet of the Spirits – Nice gentle number
Pity and the River Styx – Good catchy number, Cream style solo.
Claudette – Some lovely fretless on this one.
Clancy – Slow country number, good lyrics, great steel guitar sounds.
Lesser Lights – Mid paced country feel.
Bride Sky Noise – Interesting itchy percussion noise on this, at first I thought it might be a typewriter, but it might be an egg shaker.
Doc Hanna-Noise – This one also has the itchy percussion, I’m thinking it might be a compression artefact. This one is more bluesy.
San Francisco Ruined Me – Mixed (1999)
This is the most together of the four albums and Ned’s unique style is starting to show here.
Crust of Pain – Some nice distortion at the end.
One of the Lovely Ones – Very relaxed, with piano. Nice line “Two times two can be three”
Saints Like Us – Sad and introspective. McCartney-esque. Nice solo.
San Francisco Ruined Me – Experiencing the delights and pressures of the big city. “Glass Guitars and City Bars” Great track.
See How You’ve Spent Yourself – Fretless guitar and bass interspaced with some nice percussion.
Stealing Christmas – Precursor of i-stole? This time it’s Christmas trees.
Test of Your Strength – Interesting, just vocals and piano, could almost be a drinking song with a strong chorus.
Who’s Got a Plan – Gentle and meaningful.
Wish it Away – Thought I had heard this one before…
All reviews – Jahloon – November 2016
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