September 2001

Randall Bramblett - No More Mr. Lucky
New West NW6027
Released: 2001

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on CD]Just who is Randall Bramblett?

Well, he….

That is, I’ve heard he….

You know, that’s a very good question. Just who is Randall Bramblett, and why should we be interested in his latest solo effort, No More Mr. Lucky?

Well, Randall Bramblett has been in and around the music industry for quite some time now, even if his isn’t a household name. He’s played with musicians like Levon Helm (of The Band), Gregg Allman, and the re-formed Traffic. Currently, he heads up the innovative band Sea Level. Joined by long-time friends and collaborators Davis Causey and Jason Slatton on guitars, along with Nashville cats Michael Rhodes on bass and Joe Bonadio on drums, with No More Mr. Lucky Bramblett has taken the opportunity to record songs that run close to his own life experiences, while never becoming totally autobiographical. Bramblett then adds acoustic guitar, Hammond organ, saxes, piano, horns, and other odd instruments, to create an album of musical colors and catchy songs.

In "Disappearing Ink," he writes of the fragility of relationships. In "Sunflower," he speaks of just how easy it is to change one's perspective on life by doing something simple. "Lost Enough" deals with reaching rock bottom and finding out what’s really important. These and other songs on No More Mr. Lucky capture more than their fair share of what life is like for the majority of us real-world folk -- and that helps us connect to them, making them all the more memorable. Unfortunately, while the album starts off with a bang (the song "God Was In The Water" is super), and stays strong through the middle of the disc, it sags badly in most of the second half until closing strongly with "Disappearing Ink." Still and all, it offers hope for the future as far as Bramblett’s solo career goes.

As for the sound, it’s too bad that the major labels can’t take a lesson or two from smaller independent labels (such as this one) and spend less to get more. This album has a good bass foundation, which helps to set up the remainder of the sound. The soundstage is wide, and reasonably deep, too. Each instrument stands out, with good separation between the individual instruments. On the negative side, the highs are rolled off, and the drums sound a touch processed.

So, just who is Randall Bramblett? Someone to watch, and listen to, closely. Someone who speaks to, for, and about "us." Someone who knows how to write songs -- something that can’t be said for a great many, far more highly regarded, artists. No More Mr. Lucky is a gift, one we should accept with pleasure.