Just My Cup Of Tea, is a welcome return to the late 60s and 70s, when rock music with a hefty dose of melody ruled the airwaves. It is fourteen tracks of high quality musicianship and song-writing, without extraneous frills and pretention.
The album starts with the drive and power that is a feature of Don Powell’s long history behind a kit. He is in control in a loud, refined, measured way for the first five tracks that are followed by the dips and dives of percussion melody and cadences on To Be Continued.
The album is a masterclass in blending the talents of three people: Don Powell, whose prowess and skill have grown and never dimmed over nearly 60 years, mostly with Slade; Les Glover, who uses his years of guitar experience and talent to make each track zip along like fast-action thriller; and Paul Cookson, renowned poet and wordsmith, whose lyrics bring each track to life as well as telling stories of our times. Les also took a controlling hand in arranging many of the tracks, with producer (designer and visualiser) Martin Chatterton, completing the creation of this surprisingly remarkable album.
How Did We End Up Here is a break from the initial flying rock of guitar and drums. Its finger-picking melody and flowing, soaring strings command before we are brought back to cantering rock with Rhythm Of The Road, followed by Voodoo Shoes and Ordinary Stars, whose catchy, power-driven chorus lines, are orchestrated and controlled by Don’s drumming. Beauty And The Beat continues the driving beat and ends with a stadium-rock finale.
Rock music can tug remorselessly at the strings of emotion, and Dreams Die Hard is a classic example, a theme continued with If (Is The Middle Word In Life), before the final two tracks, We Are The Hearts and Bernie And Elton, take the listener by the hand through swooping and diving, gentle rhythms and harmony.
Just My Cup Of Tea is a revelation. The album has been put together with love and care; it allows freedom of musical expression, feeds the need of each of the musicians, and offers the listener a rounded, fulsome rocking experience. If you want a lift in my car, be prepared for some quality sounds.