Wow! This is one of Sonny Sharrock's rare early recordings, recorded in France shortly after he had been playing with Herbie Mann. The groove's kind of crazy, and it's amazing that Sonny jumped out so soon after leaving the sort of pop-jazz environs he was in with Herbie – but hey, lots of players got to France in the 60s, and completely let their bag open up – so why not Sonny? Wife Linda's on vocals on the session, and they're backed up by Beb Guerin on bass and Jacques Thollot on drums. Titles include "27th Day", "Soon", and "Monkey Pockie Boo".
Released in 2000, Drivin' off the Edge of the World is the fifth studio album by Canadian melodic rockers Von Groove. This is a band that deserved far more attention when they debuted in 1992, so it's nice to see that they stuck together and continued releasing albums long after this kind of music fell out of favor with mainstream audiences. It's also nice to know that the band has not compromised their sound in any way. While they've obviously gained in maturity and experience, the music on Drivin' off the Edge of the World is stylistically very similar to what you'd find on Von Groove's self-titled debut. This is solid melodic hard rock music from start to finish, and confirms Von Groove's status as one of the best bands in the genre.
The great thing about a solo album from someone like Bill Wyman, of the Rolling Stones, is that quality musicianship and high-profile guest appearances are all but a given. The unfortunate aspect, though, is that the Stones bassist was never known for his songwriting. In the case of Monkey Grip, the first claim holds true (with guest appearances by Dr. John, Lowell George, and Leon Russell, the album is a solid affair musically), while the issue of Wyman's songwriting ability leaves the listener pleasantly surprised. Granted, there aren't any moments where you ask yourself, "why didn't this song appear on a Stones album?" but tracks such as "I Wanna Get Me a Gun," "White Lightnin'," and "I'll Pull You Thro'" are propelled with a laid-back groove that is surprisingly catchy. And, unlike Wyman's famous stone-faced stage demeanor, his singing is loose and joy-filled.