Earl Slick lets his fingers do the talking on Fist Full Of Devils

Out now: Guitar legend Earl Slick plays blues with feeling on Fist Full Of Devils, his first solo album for 18 years

Earl Slick: Fist Full Of Devils
(Image: © Schnitzel)

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Earl Slick’s niche in rock history is assured after a career involving epochal work with David Bowie and playing with artists ranging from John Lennon to the New York Dolls. His first solo album for 18 years is an instrumental set that eschews starry guests and lets his fingers do the talking. 

Happily in thrall to the blues, with nods to Link Wray and Buddy Guy, it’s unapologetically retro, mainly sticking to those 12-bars like they’re the only ones in town. (Lost and Emerald see him shift briefly to acoustic introspection.)

Approach this as a Thin White Duke fan and you’ll be frustrated by its disinterest in drama and its rigid roots-hugging. That said, a sleazy, sinister undertow drives Black, while Vanishing Point extends elegantly into the distance. 

Elementary pianos jab as Slick unleashes his tricks, displaying the beautiful scars of a lifetime mastering his own Lucilles. Still ‘bending sound’.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.