Blues Doodles – REVIEW

Malone Sibun turn Ashes To Dust

Malone Sibun turn Ashes To Dust a fantastic four tracks…blues and rock blended by masterful musicians with the added beauty of dobro led country blues wrapping up a too short experience.

Malone Sibun is the venture that brings Innes Sibun and Marcus Malone together to create a strong set of quality blues-rock. Innes Sibun is an established and creative guitarist with several solo albums under his belt as well as accompanying Robert Plant on the Fate of Nations tour among many activities. Marcus Malone is Detroit born and now based in the UK where he too has had significant success in both recorded and live appearances…he opened for BB King at the Albert Hall. A vocalist of power, subtlety and emotion, he has even been compared to the great Paul Rodgers with his soulful, bluesy voice.

In 2020, the pair released the descriptively titled Come Together, firmly planting their own star in the blues-rock firmament. Now they have a new, four-track EP which came out earlier this year…sad it’s only an EP, a full-length album would be welcome, although Marcus Malone will be found on an upcoming release called Black Pearl (a venture spearheaded by all-round nice bloke Pete Feenstra) which will be reviewed here on release.

Anyway, besides the ‘only four’ complaint, Malone Sibun has again crafted some seriously good blues/blues-rock. The pandemic, inevitably played a part in the EP release, as Innes explains:“The lockdown didn’t mean we just stopped being creative. If anything it made us dig deeper and bring a whole new meaning to the opening track ‘Making It’. We had to do everything remotely, meaning that although the working process wasn’t as organic and spontaneous as in a face to face situation, I think it made us work harder on our craft.” Well, to my ears, it is a roaring success; the three originals and one cover are excellently put together and bode very well for the tour and the next album.

Opener, Making It, starts where the superb Come Together album left off…a great slice of blues-rock from the snare intro via the war’s guitar and spot-on vocals and bass. There will be some SRV comparisons to the rhythm guitar, but this is pure and original and the solo is an object lesson in how to use that pedal well and feed beautiful runs and bends into it too. The second (Malone?) solo is picked perfection and the stereo, speaker swapping conclusion is a delight. Ashes to Dust is a blues amalgam of Hendrix, Whitesnake (pre-hair), soul and a hint of funk that gel together in an exceedingly satisfying way. The slower, restrained bridge cum guitar solo is genius. The only cover, Evil, is from the blues generator…the great Willie Dixon. As with nearly all of his compositions, it has been covered by a multitude of artists over the years since and I have sat this version alongside my favourite ones by Bonamassa and Jeff Healey. This reading has a bit of extra funk behind the superb bass and drum backing as the vocal and guitar parts reign supreme over the familiar melodies. The solo is exquisite. Dropping the pace and complexion, the faint track, Restless Heart, is a country blues that surprises and delights in equal measure…great vocals and harmonies; effective but subtle backing and a dobro wash that could/should have lasted about an hour longer.

I know I keep saying it, but this EP is too short: the band are (despite playing apart) are so obviously ready to create and I simply wanted it to keep going…still four tracks of this quality are still to be celebrated and do serve to whet the appetite for the next album.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a fantastic four tracks…blues and rock blended by masterful musicians with the added beauty of dobro led country blues wrapping up a too short experience.


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