JIM CAPALDI Living On The Outside (SPV)
Alongside Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi was the only constant during the mighty Traffic's stop-start quarter-century recording career, and the recording of this, his latest solo album, stretches back in time beyond that band's brief reformation in the middle of the last decade. An impressive array of talent makes the guest list here, including Winwood, Paul Weller (who, let's face it, has a deal of dues to pay in this particular direction), George Harrison, Ian Paice and Gary Moore. But if you're slaveringly anticipating some kind of Blind Faith-style symbiotic supergroup outing, cool your boots.
"Living On The Outside" conforms to every bulletpoint on the hoary old rocker album template, with ridiculously cliched lyrics (the cock rock of "One Man Mission" is particularly offensive, cursed with an attitude to sexual politics seemingly preserved in amber from the Jurassic age) married to inspiration-starved music. It all sounds very 1974, the kind of music that Les McQueen of Crme Brulee could possibly get on down to. But if your ears are attuned to anything more modern you'll probably recognise "Living On The Outside" for the laughable tripe that it is. To add to the insult, the production is patchy in the extreme, with several songs riddled with unacceptable, crass distortion. Don't buy this, get a (any!) Traffic CD instead. Or even a Steve Winwood album - at least he's managed to retain at least a shred of class and dignity, qualities this unappetising album sorely lacks.