Reviewer: Helen Jones
In 2010 Brian May produced an album Anthems with West End star Kerry Ellis providing the vocals. The album was so successful that they toured together. Now, seven years after the first album, their second album Golden Days has been released. This time it is billed as a true collaboration between the two artists. It includes two new tracks written by May and three written by both of them. The rest is made up of a mix of their favourite songs and a very eclectic mix it is. Two are dedicated to their work on behalf of wild animals and a couple are reworkings of ones they have previously performed live.
The album opens with a new Brian May/ Kerry Ellis track Love In A Rainbow, and it is a typical May rock track showcasing his distinctive guitar style alongside Ellis’ soaring vocals. The following three songs are all new, Roll With You (May/ Ellis), title track Golden Days (May) and It’s Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song) (May). Ironically the title track is probably the weakest of them but all are immediately identifiable as having the May style.
There then follows a diverse selection of songs. The hymn Amazing Grace is given the Brian May touch but it Kerry Ellis’ vocals which give the song a soul. The two covers which work best though are a version of the Barry/Black penned Born Free and the Anderson/Ulvaeus Abba track Story Of A Heart. The former being evocative enough to send shivers down the spine while the Abba track is a homage to one of the biggest bands of the twentieth century.
Their cover of the iconic Gary Moore song, Parisienne Walkways, showcases Brian May’s guitar skills as he recreates the wailing feel of the original, but this is the one track where Ellis’ pure vocal sound jars, as Phil Lynott’s original rasping version is quintessential to the feel of the number.
There is one more self-penned track The Kissing Me Song, but it is ultimately a forgettable album track hidden among stronger songs.
The album finishes with a stripped down version of the Elvis Presley song Can’t Help Falling In Love (Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss). With a simple accompaniment, this final track allows the beauty of Kerry Ellis’ voice to be truly appreciated.
Overall this is a pleasant and easy to listen to album that has a couple of outstanding cover tracks, nice album but not the most memorable.
Album now available