EB Rating - 4.5
- Rock Me Baby
- Don't Go to Sleep On Me
- Breakin' Up Somebody's Home
- Change Your Way of Living
- Driven Wheel
- Next Generation
- Boo Boo's Boogie
- Tin Pan Alley
- Bernard Allison
- Stephan le Navelan
- Franck Birraghi
- Jay Golden
- Vincent Daune
One of Bernard Allison's earlier recordings, this disc
captures him performing a live concert in France before he started exploring different musical directions.
"No Mercy" is aptly named, as it is 51 minutes of head-on, mean & nasty jammin' rhythm guitar riffs, scorching
blues-rock leads, and deep-bodied, hard hitting vocals. Those of you who have heard only Bernard's newest
release will have a difficult time recognizing this as the same bluesman. OK, I exaggerate a little...
the voice and guitar style are recognizable, but where as Bernard only dabbled in power blues for a
couple of songs on "Across the Water", it's nothin' but power blues on "No Mercy".
The band as a group is tight and in a good groove. However,
this CD is mixed very loud, seemingly just barely under the limits of distortion. Bernard's
vocals and guitar are way out front, which amplifies the power of his already prominent presence even further.
The five member band includes bass, drums, and two keyboard players. But Bernard's presence is so strong
the feeling is more like that of a power trio than a 5 piece band.
Things are kicked off with a hard rockin' heavy riff version of Rock Me Baby. From the first
few beats you know you are in for some heavy duty blues. The mood eases up for the next couple songs, but not by
lot. I don't know if there's such a thing as a power blues ballad, but that's about the best description I can
come up with for Breakin' Up Somebody's Home. Then it's back into a higher gear for Change Your Way of Living,
which was written by Bernard's dad. From there he get's down low for the first of two slow blues numbers on the CD, Driven Wheel.
Bernard actually cuts back the power for a major portion of this one, but before it's over, he's steaming full bore again.
Other versions of this song I've heard are faster paced, but this slow blues redition works very well.
After that it's some more straight ahead blues-rock with Next Generation, and then a little fun
with Boo Boo's Boogie, a short romp on the keyboards. Next up is an extended version of Tin Pan Alley,
which runs thirteen minutes and twenty-four seconds. I usually don't like songs quite this long because the musical statement
is often made before a song of this length ends. As expected, this song is a bit long-winded for me, but it does do a respectable
job of holding my interest. One more blues-rocker wraps up the set on an upbeat note.
If you like up-front, power blues-rock guitar, pick up a copy of "No Mercy". You won't be disappointed.