Blues in Britain – Review

Black Pearl is a studio collaboration between guitarist Muddy Manninen (Wishbone Ash) and lyrist Pete Feenstra probably best known for his tireless work in promoting music in South London.

The two started working on songs during lockdown, but Muddy wanted someone else to sing them, so Pete approached Marcus Malone.

Unable to pursue live work with his current Malone-Sibun project, Marcus jumped on board and sings all the material here, while Muddy plays guitar, bass and keys and drums are either by Tom Gilkes or Dom Metz.

As always Marcus’s vocals are excellent, perfectly suited to mid-pace rockers like opener ‘Angel Town’ which describes Los Angeles in pretty unflattering terms, or ‘Cheap Perfume’ which conjures up late night in sleazy bars; both tunes have earworm choruses.

‘Delivery Man’ combines slide, piano and an Eagles-style chorus, Marcus excelling on the vocals as he describes what sounds like a complicated love life: “chased by shotgun wielding lovers”, perhaps not surprising as the lyrics name four different girls!

‘Price On Love’ was an easy choice for the first single, a gentler tune, again with a catchy chorus and lovely guitar fills; plus how often do we hear a phrase like “live like a petty bourgeois” in blues or rock songs?

Multiple guitars can be heard as Marcus sings of a ‘Luxury Girl’ who loves to drive round in classic American cars as Muddy lays down layers of guitars that add a Stones vibe.

Some of Pete’s lyrics have a cinematic feel giving a strong impression of time and place, as on ‘Mexican Romance’ (Moz Gamble on funky clavinet) and ‘Moment Of Regret’.

‘Natural Light’ is a full-blown rocker that brings Free to mind, not least in Marcus’s full throated vocal.

The final three tracks move more into prog territory and didn’t grab my attention as much, but are still solid songs.

Far from a straight ahead blues record, Black Pearl should still appeal to blues-rock enthusiasts.

John Mitchell

Blues Blast Magazine – Review

Pearls are some of nature’s most fascinating gemstones. Have you ever seen a black one? It’s neither as dark nor as hard as onyx or obsidian. Many come with a light green or greyish tinge,...

Read More »
Rock n Force – Review

f experience is not everything, that of Marcus Malone, Muddy Manninen and Pete Feenstra added to an exceptional feeling and an elegant and effective songwriting sparks on this first eponymous opus...

Read More »
Strutter Magazine NL – Review

Right from the very first few seconds of the debut CD of BLACK PEARL, it is clear we are dealing with something really strong and sensational. he band or should I say project was formed...

Read More »
Rootstime – Review

Black Pearl was the result of the inventiveness that the Covid pandemic demanded of the artists in the past year. An American, a Finn and a Dutchman released their debut album, with eleven original...

Read More »
Guitar Door – Review

If you were thinking of putting a price on love, then put $12.99 on this album, because that’s what the “Price on Love” is, if your love is for contemporary rock blues, a great guitar...

Read More »
Concert Monkey, Belgium – Review

lack Pearl is a brand new contemporary rock/blues project featuring London-based Detroit singer/guitarist Marcus Malone, former Wishbone Ash guitarist and arranger Muddy Manninen and songwriter Pete Feenstra....

Read More »
Scroll to Top