Mick Abrahams is most certainly Revived!, and we are the better for it. Having suffered a heart attack in 2009, Jethro Tull's original guitarist and founder of Blodwyn Pig recovered in 2014, opening the door for a 2015 release of Revived!, his tenth solo album. Enlisting a bunch of guest star musicians, Abrahams picks his way through favorites and originals both, proving he hasn't lost his touch one bit.The album opens with the first of two renditions of Blodwyn Pig's "Summer Day," a heavy-on-the-snare blues number built around a simple repeated riff and high-reaching harmonies. It's a great send-up with Pete Eldridge on vocals. "What About Us" is a fun country song featuring Frank Mead's sax. Canned Heat's "On The Road Again" gets a cool treatment with vocalist Patrick Walsh providing the vocals sans the Alan Wilson garbled enunciation and Nine Below Zero's Mark Feltham on harmonica. "I Can Tell" is not only a plucky take on Johnny Kidd and the Pirates but marks the first time Abrahams and his successor in Jethro Tull, Martin Barre., have ever been recorded together. Over Abraham's tight rhythm guitar, we get Barre basically wailing in his usual electrifyingly expressive way.
"I'm A Hog For You" is more blues with Beverley Skeete on lead and Abrahams providing clean slipping chords behind her. Skeete is in the Rhythm Kings with Bill Wyman and the original Stones bassist lays down a thick low end here as well. Former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden's leads are all over Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights Big City," while Abrahams shares vocals with Paul Jones and former Kinks and Argent bassist Jim Rodford. It's a mid-tempo blues revisit, and the slightly ragged vocals may be out of time with one another, but their attitude sees them through. Marsden provides brief moments of riffing that makes this version good fun.
The "Red River Rock" is a big horn, organ-driven instrumental. Abrahams is present, but ever so little, letting the players behind him shine much more. When he does appear, his little licks are perfectly placed in the concoction. There's a shuffling "Goodnight Irene," with Abrams more talking then singing, but the sweet harmony vocals and Manfred Mann's Paul Hones equally sweet harp playing make this a good take on the classic. Revived! is a good comeback for Mick Abrahams. Here's hoping we hear lots more from him.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.