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. PETER BARRON, GONNA KEEP ROCKING TIL MY BLOOD RUNS BLACK.

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RETRO ACTIV review by writer/musician David McGowan
13 July 2019

Anyone who likes good music has got to love Barron’s latest. It’s great just trying to spot the bands that have Influenced him, but it’s even better to hear how he’s taken those influences and made something that is very much his own.— David McGowan

Peter Barron goes from strength to strength and one wonders if he’ll have to follow up RETRO ACTIVE by entering the Mr. Universe contest!

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR gets proceedings off to a blistering start with a tongue in cheek trip into Sam Spade territory, but Bogart never had a soundtrack like this in The Maltese Falcon. Don’t confuse this with Dire Straits ‘Private Investigations’ – this is far superior. Nick Harradence pounds on the drums like he’s in a Tarzan movie and Barron’s searing solo would take the top off a hill of beans, if you’ll forgive the Casablanca reference.

For ‘99.99’, Peter buys a cheap guitar but I’ll wager it’s not the one he’s playing on this track. Heavy Metal meets Glam Rock here (Is there such a beast as Heavy Glam? Well there is now.)

BOOGIE STREET features some great blues harp from Neil Seymour and a Canned Heat riff that makes me wish my hair (or what’s left of it) was eighteen inches longer. Bolan gets a nod with a mention of Jitterbug Boogie, but this is one step beyond I Love To Boogie.

TWO STEPS TO HELL cranks up the gears even more. We’ve entered a parallel universe ‘Three Steps to Heaven’ with Wintertime instead of Summertime Blues.

NO PLACE TO GO thankfully slows the pace a tad, or I would have been reaching for my inhaler. If you can imagine Marc Bolan doing rap you’ll have some idea of where we are here. Sadly, it won’t be on the Radio One playlist owing to some Anglo Saxon in the lyrics.

The T. Rex influence continues with MIDNIGHT BLUES, though it’s blended in with Johnny Winter, Howlin’ Wolf and Boris Karloff – buy the album and it’ll all make perfect sense.

TAKE ME BACK is more early 80s than 70s and in some ways reminds me of Donovan when he moves into rock. Great production job with waves of keyboard and cutting guitars.

BAD BAD GIRL has shades of Nazareth and Tom Waits. Nick must have needed three days in intensive care after hammering away on this one. All about the type of female you always wanted to meet in a nightclub – but sadly never did.

THE SKY’S TOO BIG goes back to Tyrannosaurus Rex for its opening and T. Rex for its guitar solo. A lovely ballad which lets you get your breath back after a roller-coaster ride of an album.

Anyone who likes good music has got to love Barron’s latest. It’s great just trying to spot the bands that have Influenced him, but it’s even better to hear how he’s taken those influences and made something that is very much his own.