Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One – All Are Welcome LP/ CD (Pirates Press)

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The troubadour of Boston is back with his second album and it’s another piece of life-affirming work from  Lenny Lashley. Better known for his work with Darkbuster and more recently Street Dogs, Lenny isn’t one to take things easy so when his bands are not working 24/7, Lenny is busy writing songs that work better for his solo project. He wears his heart on his sleeve and so the songs on here as well as on his debut album come from deep within and go some way to reveal the soul that beats inside. Whilst that debut was very much a way of exorcising some demons from his recent past, this new album casts its nets further afield and looks at the person, and society – for better or worse – around him.

Sitting somewhere between Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie and Joe Strummer, Lenny carries on the tradition of the great songwriter and performer with a mix of the personal and the political. This album works as a more complete single piece of work than the debut, but Lenny includes musical influences from across the spectrum – from punk to Americana to country and beyond, and of course don’t forget that Boston Massachusetts has a great tradition of rock bands and there are a few nods and winks here and there to that sound as well.

One of the things I’ve always admired is that he can write a fairly simple tune, but build some clever vocal arrangements and melodies around the song to turn it into something special. This isn’t a solo record in the true sense – each song is assisted by a cast of musicians from all manner of bands including members of The Bruisers, Street Dogs and The Ratchets to name but a few. Ever since I got my hands on this it has been a permanent fixture in my stereo and is sure to be so for a long time to come. Tom Chapman  

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