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Eric Ambel (from You Asked for It – The Shut-In Singles Series on Lakeside Lounge Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Eric Ambel. Has always been something of a wunderkind. Having come into prominence as a member of Joan Jett’s original band the Blackhearts, and later as a member of the roots-rock combo the Del Lords, he went on to form the alt-Americana outfit known as The Yayhoos and a side project called Roscoe’s Gang as well as touring/recording member of Steve Earle and The Dukes (2000-2005). However, he may be best known as a producer, having helmed innumerable projects for the likes of such outfits as The Bottle Rockets, Blood Oranges, Nils Lofgren, Freedy Johnston, Blue Mountain, and any number of others of a similar style.
The latest example of Ambel’s multi-tasking ability arrives in the form of You Asked for It – The Shut-In Singles Series, a compilation of digital singles Ambel released during isolation over the course of the pandemic along with various B sides and compilation contributions that had never found their way onto his own albums. It’s a decidedly ad hoc collection, one that includes seemingly off the cuff takes on songs by other artists — a rowdy version of Neil Young’s “Cocaine Eyes”, a bluesy cover of J.J. Cale’s “Sensitive Kind”, a rocking replay of Nick Lowe’s “12 Step Program (To Quit You Babe)”, a pounding parcel of Credence Clearwater Revival shared via “Run Through the Jungle”, and two tracks that come courtesy of The Stones, a decidedly unhinged “All Down the Line” and a tipsy “Honky Tonk Women” — as well as a smattering of original offerings that are equally as revealing. “From a Better Place”, written with Steve Wynn, boasts a sneer and swagger befitting Ambel’s inherent garage band attitude, while the same could be said of “Flood of Love”, an otherwise obscure entry credited to one Roy Hall.
Regardless of origin, all of the music finds common ground in Ambel’s irreverent attitude. These recordings were clearly meant as a way to let off some steam once it became clear that covid offered no other respite. Eric Ambel’s own “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Cool” more or less sums up his stance, but even a live retread of George Harrison’s “Beware of Darkness” shares an auspicious attitude.
Taken in tandem, You Asked for It – The Shut-In Singles Series makes for an interesting artifact that, at very least, ought to allow Eric Ambel to reconnect with his more fervent fans. As the title suggests, it’s well worth considering. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Eric Ambel from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit Eric Ambel website
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