Where have these guys come from? Close your eyes and it’s easy to feel like you are back in the 60’s/70’s while taking in this riveting piece of music. It has easily been 20 years since my first listen of an album satisfied me so completely and deeply as this did. The “You Are Here” album delivers great-soulful vocals, great guitar, great songs and a rock-solid rhythm section.
I grew up on Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot, so I was taken aback by the sheer authenticity of this classic, Southern Rock sound in 2014. Until I read some cover notes…
“You Are Here” is the Amberson-Baggett Band’s second release. The band is made up of Michael Baggett (lead guitar), his sons Luke Baggett (bass and guitar), Chris Baggett (Drums, slide guitar) and Ted Amberson (lead vocals, guitars).
Many of the band’s songs were written by its founder (Michael Baggett) who started playing and writing this music in the 1970’s, and only stepped back into the music scene again, when his sons grew up and became musicians. Which totally explains the authenticity of the songs; they’re really the originals from the day and not part of the current trendy retro–rock movement!
But no matter how authentic the song-writing styles are, to successfully showcase the Southern Rock style, over and above the groove, you need a guitar that can carry the torch with bluesy, technical, and soulful virtuosity. Said and done!
Many reviewers and industry professionals like Stuart Epps, who produced Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and the Beatles among others, had this to say of Michael Baggett: “the best in the genre for many years’ , ‘fantastic, very authentic to the old southern rock’, and “brilliant guitar work”.
So with all this in mind, I slipped the disc into the player and pushed play (I know it’s not done like this anymore, but I still like to imagine manipulating my music media in this manner!).
What do you get when you combine double-lead guitar playing of legendary proportions, with a supremely talented bass player, and a flat-out awesome drummer? One hell of an Amberson-Baggett Band album!
They are incredible and this is an extremely enjoyable album. Amberson-Baggett works as a band because each member has a powerful command over his instrument, as is well demonstrated across the 6 tracks on “You Are Here”. Ted Amberson is also an incredibly soulful singer, which definitely adds fuel to the musical fire this band sets alight on the album.
Of the six tracks, I was hard-pressed to select my favorites, as I loved them all, but forced to make a choice I’d have to go with the groove of “Little Missy” and the fiery rhythms and guitar work on “I’m A Man”, “Blind Man” and “Rise Of The Rebel”.
Ultimately though, to be fair and honest, I personally feel that on this album, The Amberson-Baggett Band go way over the classification of strict Southern Rock. I could hear threads of subtle influences as diverse as Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Montrose, the Jeff Beck Group, Free and ZZ Top!
If you’re any kind of rock music fan, pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed!