Gozer Goodspeed - Ghosts of the Future & Past
Release Date: 30th July 2021
This is, no the face of it, an odd collection from Plymouth's blues-folk troubadour Gozer Goodspeed but then this is not artist to be taken at face value. Having recently signed to the Lights & Lines label, an album of previous releases remixed, rare recordings and a couple of newbies has been assembled under the title of 'Ghosts of the Future & Past' and it is a great jumping off platform for the previously uninitiated.
Opening with the entrancing thrum of 'Gambler's Last Day', Goodspeed sets out his rootsy, Americana influenced stall festooned with story telling lyrics, a chugging guitar and shuffling beat. 'Charlatans and Hypnotists' is an entirely new tune that sounds like Frank Turner providing the back guitar to a Tim Booth stream of consciousness with itchy energy. Personal favourite 'Rattlebone Colour' is as stompingly infectious as always while 'Man With the Ruined Knee' still transports the listener to a native American reservation in the quiet hours of the night before dawn makes an appearance.
There are seventeen tracks on this collection and each one is crafted with delicate care and passion in equal measure, a fact borne out by the intricacy of 'Barrel Headlong into the Night' as it unfurls like a Joshua Tree-era U2 jam. 'What You Got Going On, Lewis?' and 'The Blueman and the Headshrinker' are two of the best examples of blues based songwriting you'll hear this year (or any other for that matter) and the latter is one hell of a stomp to boot. The deep, rich and swirling guitar of 'Impossible to Pick Up' works perfectly for a song about the intangibility of grief before 'Survivor by Habit' takes that Americana trail again with elements of the Black Crowes and the Indigo Girls mixed in there.
Goodspeed's vocals take a turn for the dusky and dusty on 'The Key Broke Off Clean In The Lock', a song that is the perfect soundtrack to a night spent under the stairs just marvelling at the size of it all. The progression from solo artist to captain of the ship on 'Running with the Outliers' is brilliant to hear as Goodspeed's band of brother the Neon Gamblers join for a full band romp, a theme continued on the more chilled out 'Pumas and Neon Signs'. "We never talk about the time you found God on the King Point Marina" is the opening line to 'King Point Marina' which, were it not for the reference to well known Plymouth landmark, could easily be a Dylan lament.
The devilish side of Goodspeed shines through on 'Rebuilt and Remade' as he tells you the world's secrets while lazily twanging his trusty acoustic axe. 'The Killjoy Bulletin' is a live recording (the space that Goodspeed inhabits most naturally) of an uber-bluesy track about wanting to get off-grid before we are treated to a window in to what is to come on the previously unreleased 'Now's Not The Time To Lay Low' - things are looking good, by the way. The album finishes where it started (sort of) with a remix of 'Gambler's Last Day' by Chris Love of the increasingly infamous Whistlewood Studios with extra helpings of organ and swampiness.
Gozer Goodspeed has already amassed an incredibly diverse, authentic and impressive back catalogue which I would urge you to dive in to and roll around like a lottery winner on a bed of £20 notes. However, the story is far from over with a new album of fresh material due in 2022 and a return to the live scene following a pandemic enforced hiatus. Ready to get on board? You'd better be, this train is bound for glory.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/GozerGoodspeed1