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Barry Adamson, Uptown & Alright Toon Traveller gets down... (people still do that?) with the new Barry Adamson LP, Cut To Black

Barry Adamson, Uptown & Alright

Toon Traveller gets down... (people still do that?) with the new Barry Adamson LP, Cut To Black

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: May, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

"Lady you shot me..." The Last Words of Sam Cooke

Cut to Black

Barry Adamson is a significant figure in the world of UK music, and in these pages, a big favorite. His new long player, Cut to Black, out on May 17th, features 10 brand new compositions and will be his first studio album since Know Where To Run, from 2016.

Cut To Black opens up razor sharp, tight as spandex, crisp a Ryvita, drums up big steps. Thanks Gods that there's a bit of elastic in the wool of my suit pants. In these immediate 60s revival grooves, there's a resurrection a reconstruction. 'The Last Words of Sam Cooke' is a great idea for the song, a tribute to the iconic 60s soul hitmaker. Barry's voice is a clear and powerful presence with a definite soul warbling trembling waver. Horns are a-pumpin' just so, female voices - honey sweet. The organ is straight out of a Georgia Baptist Church. This is simply a wonderful song, and in case you're wonderin' yes it does quote Sam's last reported words, "lady, you shot me." Words to die by. I hope they're mine too. I'd love to deserve that. It's got all the feels. Praying on knees, calling out the Devil. Jesus wept, there's even a tinny guitar break. This is a sheer knowing soul revival. 

That's just the opener,  and I am here to tell you at no point does this record let up. If The Last Words of Sam Cooke elevates the soul of the past, Demon Lover swings in with a contemporary high step. There's a dirty sex, take it off tone, and you know you would... A great slab of joy. Heart pumping, in my case from memory, foot stomping, finger popping brilliance. Adamson is just so great, and the title track and currently, Cut To Black is so musically anthemic, sitting nicely on the turntable alongside my El Michels or WhatItDo Archive Group records, with so much happening, so much to enjoy.

That the album pitches up in the 60s though is not accident as Adamson interrogates through with music, how far we've come, what has really happened here between the birth of the civil rights movement to the dawn of AI. Transposing the urgency and tempo of the music defining a past era onto our enervated culture.

“It’s not gospel, it’s not soul, it’s not blues and it ain’t rock n’ roll. It’s all of ’em – and with good reason.” - Barry Adamson. 

Barry Adamson is surely the foremost left field composer at work now? Whatever, that's me. This is intelligent entertainment, would we have it any other way? There are clever references to Gil Scott Heron - The Revolution will not be Televised. A feel of dystrophic days at the end of the screen, psychedelic soul guitar, all very late 60s Norman Whitfield, and a touch of Ballardian Traffic. 

So a brilliant and brilliantly entertaining record. Drawing up the demons, ideas, composition, melodies and arrangements from the past. Adamson, maybe like Beck can do this with elan and make it all sound new again. If you stamped Mark Ronson's name on it, it sells millions, so what gives. It's just a delight to hear a man so clearly still in love with music.

There's a cap on the number of hearts I can give a record. If not, way more than five for this epic, rich and entertaining album.

If you're finding yourself crowded on the dancefloor this summer and the song and the beat sounds only so familiar, there's a big chance it'll be Barry Adamson on the decks. This is a record for celebrating earthshaking times.

Barry Adamson UK Tour Dates 
(with Nadine Khouri→)
Wed 22 May – Bristol (UK), Strange Brew
Thurs 23 May – Brighton (UK), Komedia Studio
Fri 24 May – London (UK), The Jazz Café
Sat 25 May – Hertford (UK), Hertford Corn Exchange
Wed 29 May – Manchester (UK), Deaf Institute
Thurs 30 May – Leeds (UK), Brudenell Social Club
Fri 31 May – Glasgow (UK), King Tuts
Sat 1 June – Newcastle (UK), Think Tank

Essential Information
Links for Barry

All Barry Adamson mentions in Outsideleft, here→

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»



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