The Rocker (Nov 18, 2020)

People in the world of prog rock may have heard of John Blangero as he is lead singer and pianist with progressive rock band Harlequin Reborn.

But under his new guise of Sun King Rising he is a world away from prog. Instead he’s looking back to the days of Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Delta Lady and southern soul meets rock. Which is good as I’ve always had a penchant for that sort of thing.

 

So we’re getting lush melodies, female backing harmonies, lots of organ and a horn section. Thankfully there’s a fair few songs which are as good as the backing. I would have used the word ‘odd’ to have described the Elton John style piano fills until I remembered that Elton made an album with Leon Russell a few years before Leon's passing. Then it made more sense. Sometimes things veer over into the world of more pure southern rock, especially when Blangero goes a wee bit Jim Dandy in the vocal department. Listen to ‘Take It Down’ or ‘Milkweed And Thistle’ for the best examples of that.

 

Elsewhere the highlights include ‘The Snake’ (the Oscar Brown penned, Al Wilson hit) , ‘In a State of Grace’ and ‘Let There Be Light’ but it’s an album full of emotion and fine playing and if that too brief seventies style is something you yearn for then you’ll enjoy this.