Review: Bex Marshall – The House Of Mercy

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

Bex Marshall – The House Of Mercy
(House Of Mercy HOM 002)

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bex Marshall, hails from Devon. On this album of eleven original compositions, she is backed by an array of musicians – in particular, Toby Baker (on keyboards and rhythm guitar), Barry Payne (stand-up bass), Crispin Taylor (drums) and Steve Lockwood (harmonica). In addition, Shola Adegoraye provides backing vocals on six tracks.

The album opens with the upbeat title song, which builds up to a full-blown bluegrass extravaganza with a stirring contribution on violin from Eileen Hardy. “Love” drives along on a prominent slide guitar axis before the slow and sultry “Bite Me” features just Bex Marshall on vocals, mandolin and guitar and Steve Lockwood on harp. The Delta-grooved “Gone Fishing” is followed by the gospel-tinged “Rent My Room”, with more than a hint of the Guns ‘N’ Roses classic “Paradise City”.

“Rattlesnake” delivers a helping of atmospheric slide guitar and tinkling keyboard while “Tough Times” bounces along with the benefit of some very effective backing vocals. “Big Man”, a tasty banjo-led instrumental, leads the way to “Bourbon Street”, another splendidly vibrant rocker, which is contrasted by the sentimental “Barry’s Song” before the album is brought to its conclusion by “Guilty”, which gathers momentum with the help of some energetic harp work.

This is a very impressive album, which offers a miscellany of excellent, well-executed compositions and a fine showcase for the Bonnie Tyler-like vocals of Bex Marshall.

Lionel Ross

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