It seems like only yesterday that RPM top boy Dom Daley and myself were watching Glen Matlock, Earl Slick and Slim Jim Phantom deliver a very promising headlining set on one of the side stages at the annual Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. It was, however, four years ago…so that’s how long I’ve been waiting to finally get to hear what this trio actually sound like on record.
That live appearance was certainly a tough one to try to pigeonhole, largely because whilst it was an infectious blend of all three musicians’ previous bands along with elements of some of their key influences, it also included their take on Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, an audacious curveball for any reviewer to try and get to grips with if ever there was one. Thankfully Glen Matlock decided well ahead of the release of ‘Good To Go’ to come out and badge the dozen tracks he’s recorded here with Slick and Phantom as “loud skiffle”, a genre he has apparently wanted to try since seeing Bob Dylan at the Albert Hall a few years back.
Dropping the CD into my player the opening 1-2 of ‘Won’t Put The Brakes On Me’ and ‘Wanderlust’ get an immediate thumbs up from me with the former a track that has a real 60s strut to it whilst the latter chugs along on a top-notch Slick lick chock full of lip curling attitude. However just as when I saw them live it’s Matlock’s vocal similarity to his Pistol-packing chum Steve Jones that really seals the deal for yours truly. Whilst we are talking of fat cockneys who like to sit around in swimming trunks ‘Sexy Beast’ is the first out and out rock and roller containing some trademark Slim Jim stick work and it’s a track that really wouldn’t look out of place on an Urban Voodoo Machine album with one hell of a catchy call and response chorus.
Elsewhere for your entry money, we get ‘Speak Too Soon’ which contains a wonderful Bowie-esque vibe whilst ‘Hook In You’ swaggers and sways on a dirty way past midnight 12 bar refrain. It’s at the midway point of the album though that I have to admit starting to feel a little bit of déjà vu creeping into ‘Good To Go’, but then up pops ‘Montague Terrace (In Blue)’ totally out of the blue (ouch) and yeah that’s the sound of me picking up my jaw back up off the floor. Tracks as sumptuous as this are exactly why the album format will always live long with serious music fans as this brooding bastard of a torch song is the main reason this record has been on constant loop on my stereo of the last few weeks. You really must listen to it all in sequence to get it though, okay?
As ‘Good To Go’ reaches the home straight ‘Strange Kinda Taste’ and album closer ‘Keep On Pushing’, both bring to mind the kind of thing Ian Hunter does these days, in so much that this is music that the musicians have grown into over their long and varied careers, and they sound very comfortable in their skin. Yes, it’s ultimately rock ‘n’ roll music (which I guess is what “loud skiffle really is anyway) but with ‘Good To Go’ Glen Matlock is certainly not trying to swindle you into thinking it’s anything else. Great stuff!