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Mutter Slater Band — The Masquerade
(Thoroughbred music TBRED9312, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-02-09

The Masquerade Cover art

It’s always reassuring when one of the old timers from rock’s classic period is discovered still making great music rather than just wandering off to the old rocker’s retirement home. Such is the case with Mutter Slater, the former singer and flutist with the classic early 70s band Stackridge. He was with the band for their five original albums (Stackridge (1971) through Mr. Mick (1976)) and then several of the reunions throughout the ensuing years from 2002 until 2010. Stackridge finally called it a day in 2015. Since 2013 Slater has been working with his new six-piece Mutter Slater Band, and have released four full-length albums, The Masquerade being the latest, with Slater now taking rhythm guitar duties as well as lead vocals, flute, and writing all the songs. The band includes lead and slide guitarist (and backing singer) Chris Cleaver, drummer Dan Wheeler, bassist Laurie Higgins, keyboard player Tom Hughes (who handles production as well), and Clive Ashley on tenor sax. The album launches with the unabashed rocker “The Party” with the band firing on all cylinders. “Let’s Call It a Draw” follows, another powerful number with a catchy refrain and a great sax solo dueling with guitar to boot. After all the years, Slater’s voice is still powerful and commanding, but sensitive as well, as the track “Treason” bears out. Other standouts include the title track with its pounding rhythm and jangly guitar effects, followed by a great sax solo and swirling Leslie organ before Slater brings it all home. “Heading for a Fall” dishes up some old time rockabilly where the band seems to be entirely comfortable as well. The long vocal intro to “Show Me You Care” hardly prepares the listener for the power-funk gospel number that it morphs into, with a great slide guitar solo at the beginning of the lengthy instrumental break. “Troubadour Heaven” is a powerful slow-rocker with maximum feeling, introducing the closer “Keep Me from Fear,” where a beautiful flute intro leads into a heartfelt vocal performance which stands among the finest of the album’s ten tracks. All taken, The Masquerade is a superb set of engaging numbers that shouldn’t be missed.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Mutter Slater

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