The album kicks off with a cover of Randy Newman’s ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’. This version is perhaps a little slower than the Tom Jones one released many years later but is far better. The Roden penned ‘Jump Mama’ follows and keeps the tempo high and upbeat. Album highlight ‘Blowin’ follows and showcases Roden’s blues soul vocal ability. Very reminiscent of Free it places Roden in the same bracket as Paul Rodgers, high praise indeed but more than deserved. ‘In A Circle’ features a great horn arrangement by David Wadsworth and some stellar playing by Ronnie Taylor (Alto) and Chris Gower (Trumpet). ‘I’m On A Winner With You’ closes side one on a more gentle note but without lowering the quality.
Side Two leaps out of the speakers straight away with the classy ‘Mama Roux’ from the pen of Doctor John Creaux. Once again Wadsworths horn arrangement is top notch. The following ‘Desperado’, a cover of the Eagles classic, is far superior to the original and Roden nails it as his own, giving it a soul and blues feel that the composers could never have managed. I was lucky enough to see Roden perform this song live without any accompaniment whatsoever to a packed house at his comeback gig in the nineties. To say you could have heard a pin drop would be an understatement. Billy Sherrill’s ‘Too Far Gone’ and another John Cartwright track ‘Send It To You’ close the album.
Roden is in my opinion, along with Frankie Miller, the most under rated of British singers from the seventies. A style which encompasses rock, blues and soul to name but three he really should be mentioned in the same breath as Paul Rodgers and the like. A couple of years before this release Roden had been touted as Ian Gillan’s replacement in Deep Purple such was his standing amongst other musicians. Quite why he has never achieved the level of success his ability deserves in quite frankly beyond me.