Artist: Spike 
   Title: It's A treat To Be Alive
   Label: Demolition Records

In the mid-eighties the name of the Quireboys was associated with good time rock n' roll, the Geordie band took the world by storm with their debut ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’, mostly due the cigarette and alcohol soaked gravely vocals of frontman Spike.

The resurgence of the Quireboys over recent years has seen it bear fruit since their 'Well Oiled' release, but Spike has never been one to rest on his laurels and has kept himself busy with several side projects over the years including a solo album, works with Tyler from the Dogs D’Amour, the Damage Control project with Robin George and Pete Way just to name a few.  And now the long awaited second solo release ‘It’s a Treat To Be Alive’ finally sees the light of day.

Those familiar with Spike's solo material know that it’s faraway from the Quireboys material, it has a much slower bluesy feel to it and this new album is no exception.

Things get underway with ‘Have A Drink With Me’, a track which instantly takes you away from the Quireboys material with Spike’s vocals lending themselves perfectly to the more bluesy sound and is very reminiscent of the early Faces when Rod Stewart was more in touch with the music and not his looks.

‘Be Good To Yourself’ is very close to what the Quireboys brought to rock n' roll, a more up tempo feel to this song that will definitely be one that could perhaps be included in a Quireboys set and the fans wouldn’t be any the wiser.

But it’s the mid to slow tempo bluesy tracks that make this album rather special as it shows Spike in a different light as things continue with ‘Wins Lies and Losses’, although the real standout track of the album for me has to be the superb version of Slade’s ‘Everyday’.  Spikes voice was made for this song as he makes this version his own.

After the excellence of 'Everyday' things get a little more rockier with ‘Rise Above’ before the tables are turned once more as we get a little Southern feel to things with the banjo on ‘Won't Ya Stick Around’ and the jazz piano brings an even more, dare I say it, Country and Western feel to the song.

The thing you get from Spikes song writing is ability to make each song hit home a few home truths, heartache, good times, bad times and love always get a mention somewhere along the way with the listener taking particular songs and thinking that he wrote this for me, that’s a talent, ‘Without You’ is sure to be one of those songs.

The album is full of story book songs where he has taken real life and put it too music a prime example of this is ‘Lady And Her Daughter’ a moving tale.  But with Spike wearing his heart on his sleeve the majority of the album are love songs, whether it be undying love or loves lost, the theme is universal as things continue with ‘When I’m Away From You’, an emotionally charged song that could melt even the coldest of hearts.  We move on with the moving biopic ‘So Far So Good’, 'She’s A Rolling Stone’ and ‘I’m In Love With You’, all heart warming songs that will bring a tear to the eye and continue to melt the hardest of hearts.

‘True Friends’ is one for all the Geordies out there as Spike brings in local sites of reference and even the inclusion of The Likely Lads theme makes this a true North Easterners song.  It's been 3 years since I first heard Spike sing this song and it warmed the cockles of my heart then and still does today.  This song encompasses everything that true Geordie rockers held (and still hold) so dear, the friends, the laughter, the memories and those great nights out we used to have together.  Even our dear own Mayfair to which this site is dedicated receives a mention.  Ah them were the days!

The album comes to a close with the another Country and Western style song ‘7/11 Roses’ wraps up a very heart-warming and passionate solo release from one of rocks finest song writing talents.

Tracklisting:

   1. Have A Drink With Me
   2. Be Good To Yourself
   3. Wins, Ties And Losses
   4. Everyday
   5. Rise Above
   6. Won't Ya Stick Around
   7. Without You
   8. Lady And Her Daughter
   9. When I'm Away From You
  10. So Far So Good
  11. She's A Rolling Stone
  12. I'm In Love With You
  13. True Friends
  14. 7/11 Roses
                  

 

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