Jeremy Spencer’s 2006 album Precious Little heralded the unexpected return of the guitarist who famously went AWOL from a Fleetwood Mac tour in 1971 and opted to join a Christian sect for the duration.
This follow-up makes plenty of connections with his past, tapping into his lifelong love of Delta blues (namely Elmore James), alongside a little 50s ramalama and, as on Refugees, reworking an old song from his 1979 album, Flee.
Spencer may be the first to concede he’s no great singer, but there’s a nimble expressiveness to his fretwork that mostly compensates for any vocal failings, aided by a bunch of Detroit musicians led by guitarist and co-producer Brett Lucas.
It’s a fairly conventional 12-bar palette, Spencer sprinkling his original tunes with covers of two James boys (Elmore and Homesick) and Mel London, while a version of the Al Perkins-Otis Rush tune, Homework adds a splash of swampy colour and Merciful Sea is an elegiac instrumental that provides a lovely showcase for Spencer’s less celebrated piano playing.
A ruminative, gentle record from one of rock’s more ruminative, gentle souls.