Damn me if Bertie and the boys haven’t confounded all the odds, and at long last gotten themselves into a studio and put together a humdinger of an album. The band have been kicking over the engine for many a year, and have gained, lost, and regained in greater number than ever, fans throughout the Midlands. Core of the Flatts has been the indomitable character of ‘Bertie’ Burton, other members have come and gone over the years, but the current line up, is on my reckoning, the best I’ve seen, with Russ Cook on bass, Rich Shelton on drums, alongside the talented axeman, Gary Harper. They describe themselves as a “Whisky Swiggin’ Bad Ass Kickin’ Go Anywhere Giggin’ Boogie Band”, Bertie, looking after the swiggin’, keeping the tonsils in tune, and the hip flask empty!
‘Back In The Saddle’ ticks all the boxes, and by dragging themselves first to the JT Soar Studio in Nottingham, then on to North London Bomb Factory for mastering, they have produced an album that truly captures the best of the band. Also credited on the album is Jules Benjamin for his input on keyboards.
That’s all the bulls**t done, lets see what’s inside the cover. Anyone who follows the band will be familiar with their music, it being a collection of funk filled, boogie busting, blues, from, ‘Monkey Around’ through to ‘Back In A Cadillac’. 10 tracks that will get you up moving to the intoxicating vibe, intoxication being mandatory at a VFFD gig, be warned, nobody stays still.
I’m not sure what, ‘Crutches’, refers to here, Bertie has literally had to use some in recent times, but maybe it could also allude to the proof of your bloodstream, the one you fret about whenever you see a blue flashing light in the mirror. Whatever, the boys have done a brilliant job, complete with pregnant pause before rockin’ all the way to the end.
The blues gets seriously deep with their delivery of ‘When The Blues Catch Up With You’, Bertie is bang on form, the rhythm boys in perfect formation wallow in the shear beauty of Gary’s gorgeous guitar solo, in my mind, the stand out track on the album.
Needless to say, the funky fun kicks back in as BB gets into the swing of the song tailor made for his fiery past, ‘Too Drunk to Drive Drunk’. ‘Nothing To Loose’, but cut a deeper groove with this rock heavy blues, Gary is warmed up, and soaring into places air guitarist can only dream of, Richie and Russ bang in the beat, as Bertie burns through the lyrics.
A couple of songs mojo rapidly past like the throaty rumble of a big V, not many Vincent’s left so probably a Harley, before getting ‘Back In A Cadillac’, stuffing the gear in the trunk and driving home hard.
I admit I did struggle a bit getting this disc, was it worth the effort? Too damned right it was, Vincent Flatts Final Drive have come up with a well oiled chain of songs that keep the big wheels turning, fully polished and reflecting their glory. I can only say, the hip flask is full the band fully tanked up and Bertie is on form in the saddle – a great ride.
By: Graham Munn
Chills n’ Thrills
When The Blues Catches Up With You
Too Drunk To Drive Drunk
Nothing To Lose
She Gave Me Back My Mojo
Shape I’m In
Back In A Cadillac