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Eric Johnson / Alien Love Child Live and beyond (2000, Favored Nations) On Live and beyond, Eric Johnson serves up a helping of live Texas blues rock with his band Alien Love Child, a trio featuring Chris Maresh on bass and bill Maddox on drums, with Johnson and Maresh sharing occasional vocal duties with guest vocalist Malford Milligan. Johnson's infamous meticulousness over guitar equipment and his recordings has delayed several of his studio records in the past decade, but Live and beyond presents Johnson in a less inhibited live setting. Johnson shines when the band jams, even over some rather stock blues riffing like "Enzo Shuffle" or the solo section of "The Boogie King," after the dull intro, but the music lags during the vocal sections. Many of the blues shuffle riffs sound quite similar, and "Once a Part of Me" and "Don't Cha Know" with guest Milligan feel even more hackneyed. None of the live cuts match the mournful wail of the single studio track "World of Trouble." Johnson wields his trademark silky smooth lead sound with mixed results, such as the wonderfully snappy, gloomy solo on "Once a Part of Me," and the ponderously extended solo in "Last House on the Block." His sparkly clean guitar passages add a welcome contrast to the repetitive gritty blues riffing, particularly the almost Allan Holdsworth sounding ethereal swells opening "Elevator Sky Movie." The pedantic rhythm section supports Johnson adequately but fails to add an additional spark to the music. Perhaps the studio version of the band, with Steve Barber on Hammond B3 organ, better suits Johnson's writing and playing. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [sha3u@Virginia.edu] More Info:
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And another viewpoint . . . Artist: Eric Johnson Title: Alien Love Child-Live and Beyond Genre: Instrumental/ Rock, Blues, Fusion Label: Favored Nations-www.favorednations.com Website: www.ericjohnson.com It is a given at this point that any six-string genius that is worth his salt can be found on Steve Vai’s flourishing Favored Nations Label. Eric Johnson happens to be one of those guitar heroes, and one that is hard to ignore. Even though he came into prominence in the early ‘90s, he is no stranger to the studio as his recording career reaches back to the 70’s. Johnson’s brand of instrumental rock fusion has continually captivated me. His tone and style of playing sets him apart from everyone else and his voice is instantly recognizable. In the year 2000 he recorded a diverse gathering of tracks called Alien Love Child-Live and Beyond. What I enjoy the most about they way he plays are the varied influences he throws into the mix of his work. The best way to describe this music is rock-blues-fusion. There are ten tracks on this CD and I loved them all without exception. “Zenland” cranks things up into high gear right out of the gate, and from that point, the entire show accelerates. Oh yes, this is live music by the way, but you would never know it if it was not for the audience. Johnson’s technique and understanding of his instrument allows him to recreate his music in a live setting that is quite simply, astonishing. He is not only a peerless pure player, he is a polished technician, and performances like this bear the fruit of all his knowledge and experience. He does a nice tribute to the deceased blues legend John Lee Hooker titled “The Boogie King,” which no doubt has Hooker smiling from the heavens above. Every track is indisputably Johnson in his element and he gets plenty of support from his crackerjack band consisting of Chris Maresh (Bass), Malford Milligan (Vocals) and Bill Maddox (Drums). You cannot do it all alone, and I am sure Eric is very grateful to have had such a wonderful supporting cast. I love everything that this man records and this is no exception, it rocks, its bluesy fusion, it is in fact everything I like to hear when listening to guitar based music. ©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck May 25, 2003 1. Zenland - 5:54 2. Last House on the Block - 11:13 3. Rain - 4:08 4. Enzo Shuffle - 3:01 5. Once a Part of Me - 7:16 6. Don't Cha Know - 3:53 7. The Boogie King - 4:29 8. Elevator Sky Movie - 2:34 9. Shape I'm In - 5:36 10. World of Trouble - 3:38 Rating- 5 stars! The Players: Eric Johnson - Guitar, Vocals, Producer Chris Maresh - Bass Malford Milligan - Vocals Bill Maddox - Drums


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