I’m too young to have witnessed the Faces in their prime but when Sweden’s Diamond Dogs were announced as the tour support to The Damned in 2004 I was all over it like John Peel being offered to mime the mandolin on Top of the Pops. You see, the Diamond Dogs were the closest thing I was ever gonna get to the spirit and sound of Rod, Ronnie, Ronnie, Kenney and Ian. Sulo and his then band of merry men (which at various points included Robert “Strängen” Dahlqvist and Anders “Boba Fett” Lindström from The Hellacopters) provided all the good time fun of rock, rhythm and blues.
Sören “Sulo” Karlsson seems a constantly busy man. Whether it’s recording the Brilliant Outsiders album with Maria McKee and Chris Spedding among others, or kicking out The Crunch jams with The Clash’s Terry Chimes, Mick Geggus from the Cockney Rejects and Sham 69’s Dave Tregunna. The man is not one to shy away from consistent musical output.
Full English is Sulo’s new solo album and features twelve newly penned tracks along with seven interesting bonus covers with some cool and diverse rock ‘n’ roll names. On the album proper, we get the sound that those who know Sulo will be well accustomed to. That is, there is more Faces meets Mott The Hoople barroom shuffle than you can shake a rhythm stick at. The beer bottle clinking is balanced with a healthy dose of Rolling Stones style country and smoky ballads to show off Sulo’s raspy voice.
Upbeat highlights include lead single Sorry for the Young, the honky tonk piano led Stand on the Rocks and Hit Me With Your Rock ‘n’ Roll; the latter wouldn’t sound amiss on Exile on Main Street. As well as rocking out, the slower cuts excel with Among the Angels, Lightning Strikes Twice and the awesome album closer My Bounty From Above with its slide guitar.
Sulo’s got his little black book out for the bonus tracks labelled as The Full English Extras and it accompanies his Keep Yourself Alive book. The seven tracks sound like they were all recorded in one take with a keg of ale and a barrel of laughs. Perhaps not to be taken too seriously due to false starts and occasional bum notes, Sulo calls on Spike of The Quireboys for Roses and Rings, Wilko Johnson for Dr Feelgood’s Roxette and Dave Higgs for Eddie and the Hot Rods’ Teenage Depression. Most tracks come with short good humoured dialogue; see Wilko with his Canvey Island drawl proclaiming “it’s a favourite… we play it and everyone’s singing along with it.”
It’s a little bit beyond me how Sulo hasn’t received more recognition, especially on these UK shores. If there were to be an appearance on Jools Holland then things would really be catapulted. I don’t mean that as a derogatory comment, but what I’m saying is that there’s so much tripe on that show these days that someone like Sulo could really appeal to a bigger audience and kick those middle of the road Radio 2 playlist botherers into touch with ease.
Full English is an accomplished album which sounds more mature in comparison to the Diamond Dogs days, but still doesn’t lose its sense of fun as Sulo sings from the heart with that ever-present twinkle in his eye. Check it out whilst shooting some pool over a bottle of Bud… or twelve. Ginge Knievil.