Spike’s album 100% Pure Frankie Miller will be released on 8th September 2014 through Cargo Records. Scottish singer-songwriter Frankie Miller enjoyed chart success in the late 1970s with songs including Darlin‘ and Be Good To Yourself. He then suffered a brain haemorrhage which curtailed his song writing career. The BBC filmed the documentary ‘Stubborn Kinda Fella’ in 1999 which chronicled his road to recovery. Frankie has been left unable to speak but is able to communicate. With hundreds of songs to choose from Spike, together with several of Frankie’s close friends, has revived some of those previously unreleased songs to make the album 100% Pure Frankie Miller with Frankie’s artistic licence all the way.
In a press release Spike said “Frankie doesn’t want sympathy. He just wants his music to be heard. These songs have never been heard before and they’ve been recorded with Frankie’s blessing. They are songs that would have been lost if it wasn’t for the desire of a group of his closest friends and biggest fans to do them justice. Frankie Miller was – and still is – a massive influence on so many musicians, myself included. He has a special talent as a songwriter and that talent deserves to be celebrated.”
100% Pure Frankie Miller features Ronnie Wood, Andy Fraser, Bonnie Tyler, Simon Kirke, Ian Hunter, Luke Morley, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir, Paul Guerin, Tyla, Chris Corney, Mark Stanway, Mick Roobotham, Matt Goom, Pat Mcmanus, Lorraine Crosby, Stuart Emerson, Cherry Lee Mewis, Simon Hanson and Jimi The Piper.
With not only Spike, but the other three Quireboys featuring on this album and Spike being vocalist it has a sound similar to classic Quireboys but there are other elements in there. Brooklyn Bridge has the Rod Stewart gravelly vocals which Spike is famous for, it reminded me of The Eagles. If I hadn’t known it was Spike I may have thought Rod was collaborating with them as it brought to mind their song Long Road Out of Eden. Cocaine a mellow song with gentle riffs which Tyla, who designed the album cover features on. I’m Losing You is a lovely ballad, reminiscent of The Quireboys’ classic I Don’t Love You Anymore. I felt the next song Intensive Care with it’s great riffs to be very poignant, as Frankie can’t possibly have known, when he wrote it, that he was going to suffer a brain haemorrhage putting him in a coma for five months.
Bonnie Tyler duets with Spike on the song Fortune, the pair sing in perfect harmony Bonnie’s voice being like the female equivalent of Spike’s. It’s difficult to tell in places which was Spike singing and which was Bonnie. I doubt even Spike’s own mother could tell them apart! Amsterdam Woman has some Shadows’ Hank Marvin style riffage. In Other Side of Town Spike’s vocals reminded me of Joe Cocker’s in With A Little Help From My Friends and the accompanying help from the backing singers only helped contribute to the similarity.
Cheap Hotel has some keyboards Jerry Lee Lewis or B. Bumble and the Stingers would be proud of! Great Balls of Fire meet Nut Rocker perhaps! Cold, Cold Nights has some Hawaiian Hula meets country riffage, whereas Did You Ever Wanna Go Home has a mellow Scottish Country music feel and includes some fine bagpipes from Jimi The Piper. Keepin’ It All For You another mellow song a little similar to The Quireboys’ own Mother Mary. The last song Bottle of Whisky which includes the line ‘I had a fight with a bottle of whisky last night, and the bottle of whisky won’ features Tyla which is apt as it kind of reminded me of How Come It Never Rains by the Dogs D’Amour.
Some beautiful lyrics in this album which any fan of Spike and The Quireboys should love. A stunning tribute to keep Frankie’s music alive and with hundreds more of his songs waiting to be heard, it is to be hoped there will be a follow up soon.
Highlight tracks, for me, are Cheap Hotel and Intensive Care.
1. The Brooklyn Bridge
3. I’m Losing You
4. Intensive Care
6. Amsterdam Woman
7. Other Side of Town
8. Cheap Hotel
9. Cold, Cold Nights
10. Did You Ever Wanna Go Home
11. Keepin’ It All For You
12. Bottle of Whisky
Interview with Spike August 2014: http://planetmosh.com/spike-the-quireboys-interview-about-his-solo-album-august-2014/
Spike’s Website: http://www.thequireboysspike.com/
Spike’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/spikegraydotcom
The Quireboys’ Website: http://www.quireboys.com/spike.html
The Quireboys’ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/quireboys
Frankie Miller Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frankie-Miller/163350180344489