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RAMOS – My Many Sides (2020)

Ramos - "All Over Now" (feat. Joe Retta & Josh Ramos)
He should be a household name, such is the style and talent of Josh Ramos. But this album won't correct that injustice.
RAMOS - My Many Sides
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Big fan of Josh Ramos here – from his work with The Storm, Hardline and Two Fires, to L.R.S and his previous two Ramos releases. A class guy and a truly class guitarist. But he hasn’t always benefitted from the best production available. The 3 Two Fires albums with Kevin Chalfant especially. But only the major label Storm albums have given Josh his best chance to shine brightest.

The new album’s title is a little confusing. ‘My Many Sides’ suggests a varied record showcasing Josh’s different musical personalities, but rather I think this record shows just one side – a love of slow to mid-tempo bluesy numbers.

Strong points – the guitar playing – both rhythm and soloing is really something. Not only the playing, but the tones used throughout are pure ear candy. Another positive is the choice of singers brought in here – some of the best names in the biz – Joe Retta, Terry Ilous, Danny Vaughn, Tony Harnell, Harry Hess, John Bisha, Eric Martin and the late, great Tony Mills delivers one of his very last vocal performances.

Individually the vocals are as you would expect, quite marvellous. But collectively, they are all very similar and tend to blend into each other, the unique characteristics of each singer is somewhat muted by the very similar material.

That leads to the album’s ‘elephant in the (recording) room’ – the production.

It’s horrible. Its almost unlistenable in places – from muddy drums and bass, to badly mixed layers that just blend into each other. The return of Italian producer Fabrizio V Z Grossi from the wilderness, with his trademark muddy sound, is not a welcome sight or sound.

The record sounds like one-take demos at times, and any critic not brave enough to raise this fact is doing the public a disservice. It’s 2020. There is no shortage of unbelievably good sounding records made for a fraction of the price it once took. Josh needs to align himself with those capable of putting him in the best spotlight possible. He has long proven he has the talent and he deserves better.