(Silver Lining / Militia Guard)
01. Paint It Black
02. Immigrant Song
03. Paperback Writer
04. Evil Woman
05. Stone Free
07. Speed King
08. The Rocker
09. Hold The Line
10. Problem Child
11. See My Friends
Covers albums are a risky business. There are, of course, lots of great examples of the form, and we all enjoy the healthy dismantling and reconstruction of a classic every now and then. On the other side of the mimicry coin, however, there have been lots of truly dismal covers albums over the years, none of which deserve to be mentioned here.
Fortunately, SAXON are a band of sufficient vintage and legend that they have absolutely no reason to explain anything they do at this point. “Inspirations” is very obviously a record that was bashed out and glued together during lockdown but sounds every bit as energetic and powerful as you might expect from the British veterans. If there is one tiny downside to the whole thing, it’s that the band’s choice of songs is all so screamingly obvious that it’s hard not to wonder why they couldn’t have come up with at least one curveball along the way. Observant fans could arguably have predicted at least eight of these 11 tunes, and even the mildly surprising likes of TOTO‘s “Hold The Line” and THE KINKS‘ “See My Friends” are firmly within the classic rock arena.
But then, as is so often the case with SAXON, the sheer, mad-eyed exuberance of the whole thing grabs you by the fundamentals and jettisons all cynicism with a chuckling flourish. Clearly having as much fun as they’ve had in years, this is a looser, less precise SAXON than we generally hear on their studio albums, but it’s also a showcase for the band’s resolute chemistry and, more importantly, their unabashed, shared love for these songs. It’s also an absolute joy to hear Biff Byford singing the likes of “Immigrant Song” and “Speed King”: songs that evidently influenced his own vocal approach, but which he sings, brilliantly, with an audible twinkle in his eye, very much on top of the job throughout. Similarly, when Biff takes on AC/DC‘s “Problem Child” or THIN LIZZY‘s “The Rocker”, he sounds squarely in his element, saluting his heroes but also contemporaries from SAXON‘s early days.
With only a re-worked and slightly stilted rendition of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Stone Free” missing the mark, “Inspirations” may be an unapologetic stopgap, but it’s also a vibrant and brashly entertaining collection of blasts from the past. It’s hard to imagine anyone else getting away with it, but this is SAXON: the finest covers band in the world (this week).
To comment on a
story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you’re logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of
does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the “Report to Facebook” and “Mark as spam” links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.
reserves the right to “hide” comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to “ban” users that violate the site’s Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user’s Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a “banned” user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the “banned” user’s comments will only be visible to the user and the user’s Facebook friends).