Review from The Rock Doctor John Kereiff
BLACK PEARL Black Pearl (Redline Music) ****
If you like your rock & roll shot full of bluesy goodness, I’ve got something for you here. Black Pearl’s self titled debut is a juicy, often slow burning piece of easy flowing excellence with enough swagger and attitude to fill you to the brim.
Black Pearl is a rock-blues project featuring London based Detroit singer Marcus Malone, former Wishbone Ash guitarist and arranger Muddy Manninen and songwriter Pete Feenstra. Originally born as a song writing project by Muddy & Pete during the lockdown, Marcus quickly came on board and thus magic was born. Black Pearl wanders between rock, blues, Americana and even Latino for a unique and enjoyable musical blend. A couple of things struck me right away; how as a singer Malone often reminds me of Dug Pinnick from King’s X, and that the guitar playing has a Robin Trower feeling to it. Haunting and bluesy, the songs feed your imagination.
Muddy Manninen was the songwriter and guitarist for Wishbone Ash for 13 years. Marcus Malone learned his craft opening for guys like Bob Seger and Iggy Pop before being courted by Motown Records. Peter Feenstra is an award winning blues promoter and blues/rock DJ and songwriter. They each bring something different to Black Pearl, which I daresay comes off stronger than the sum of its parts. There’s a pop sensibility, a melodic touch that you don’t often hear in this genre, and lyrics that have the ability to spark the imagination. Take Price On Love, with its sort of gently rolling Motown feel. When was the last time you heard the phrase “your cool galactic charm” in a song? I thought so. Feenstra’s lyrics address many of the same subjects dealt with in the genre, but he has a way of putting a little tweak or twist on them that makes you go “yeah”.
Black Pearl may have been born as a pandemic project but Black Pearl sounds like an album done by musicians (Malone & Manninen plus various guests) that understand each other very well. I’m looking forward to sharing these tunes on my internet radio shows.
HOT TRACKS: Luxury Girl, Price On Love, Moment Of Regret
“Life’s purpose is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, totally worn out, shouting “holy shit… what a ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson