Unfinished Business

Henry McCullough

Touring in the mid 60s with Eire Apparent, guitarist Henry McCullough got to share tour-package stages with the likes of the Move, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, he was part of the UK band Sweeney's Men, a group now recognized as one of the pioneers of folk rock. McCullough next landed in Joe Cocker's Grease Band, played on the original soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar, and even sat in with Spooky Tooth for an album. A highlight, of course, was playing with Paul McCartney and Wings (he provides the beautiful solo on "My Love"). His post-Wings career included touring with Roy Harper and Ronnie Lane, among a host of others. Now, one of his solo albums, Unfinished Business, originally released 2002, has been dusted off and given a second life. This record is an eclectic 14-song set that clearly represents the man's brilliant guitar playing and odd vocal stylings.

Opening with a twangy, "Lay Down Sally"- like groove "The Last Of The Bluesman" sees some nice pull-off picking to really rather fast guitar work. "Josie's In The Garden" is pretty much an instrumental finger picking exercise and not much more. There's truly a great vocal and some nice mandolin played by McCullough on Ronnie Lane/Kit Lambert's "Kuschty Rye," probably the best of the earlier tunes. "I'd Rather Die Young" is a sweet 50s ditty with some nice pedal steel from Percy Robinson. "Oould Piece Of Wood (The Loss Of The 3350" is a heartfelt ode to McCullough's Gibson ES335, a guitar he played for some three decades before it stolen in 1999. "Hollis Brown" sounds like old Fleetwood Mac with spiky guitar but it's really the man's way around a Bob Dylan tune.

Frankie Miller's "Drunken Nights In The City" has McCullough leading perfectly with his acoustic and a full barrage of backing vocals. The CD really picks up here with the funky roll of some great guitar on "Tumble Dry," followed by what might be the man's most famous tune, the superb "Failed Christian." For the guitar alone, Unfinished Business is worth picking up, but McCullough also possesses a really interesting vocal, an ear for arrangement and the ability to write his own as well cover others. In other words, Unfinished Business is everything you'd expect and more from a seasoned rock and roll veteran like Henry McCullough.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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