Guitar player Fast Eddie Clarke has enjoyed a certain repute for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he once dwelled in the infamous Motorhead, domain of beloved oddball Lemmy (ex-Hawkwind), and then went on to grab a number of very good sidemen—Pete Way of UFO (who couldn't escape a Chrysalis Records contract obligation and thus never made it to vinyl with Eddie), Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie, Mick Feat (popular session bassist)—to form Fastway, the name a combination of Clarke's reference moniker and the departed Pete. In Eat Dog Eat, the axeman once again demonstrates his taste in recruiting bassist Toby Jepson, who sings with a voice strongly reminiscent of Glenn Hughes—especially in the opening cut, Deliver Me, later in the ballad Dead and Gone, and then elsewhere, all of which you'll swear are cutting room floor outtakes from Trapeze's Medusa.
The promo lit claims this CD contains some of Clarke's "strongest songs to date" and I couldn't agree more. Where past efforts were mixtures of ripsnorters, rockers, and coulda-been-betters, this one's far more even keeled, solid, has that 'all of a piece' feeling, and I strongly suspect it's Jepson's vocals that are yanking some of the great chord choices and leads out of Eddie. Even Mel Galley will be smiling from beyond the grave in many places, especially at Clarke's solo in the second movement of the aforementioned Dead and Gone.
Do I have a favorite song? Hard to pick, but I'm partial to Who Do You Believe?, a track dripping with 70s authority and progressions, Eddie's guitar soaring above the groove. Brings back thoughts of Bloodrock, Nitzinger, and other under-appreciated bands, and that's probably the best applause: this is not new-millenium music, it's a redistillation of the kind of sound that got us here…and is still sorely needed as the corporate monster stillbirths everything in its path. And, on that note, since Fastway got screwed black and blue on their successful Trick or Treat soundtrack (11 months on the charts!), seeing little money for the work, it's a good thing they went with MVD this time around, Columbia not exactly the repository of good will and largesse.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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