CRR archive album review by Eric Sandberg — Derek Smalls - Smalls Change
It has been nearly a decade since the mighty Spinal Tap released their final (to date) album, Back From The Dead. Since then this rock and roll leviathan hath lain dormant. Rumors abound that the unholy triumvirate of Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls were last spied converging on Stonehenge (the real one) on the cusp of the Winter Solstice and have left the planet altogether.
This has turned out to be, to use modern vernacular, fake news, as one of the fabled 'three of throb' has alarmingly resurfaced. Yes, Derek Smalls is back, and he's older than ever!
Smalls has just dropped his second solo album, Smalls Change (meditations upon ageing) (BMG) Smalls' first album, It's a Smalls World, was purportedly released in 1975 and was quickly deleted (it is so deleted it's like it never actually existed).
Smalls fabled raven tresses are now as white as Dick Cheney, but that doesn't stop him from bringing the 4-string thunder on this grandiose collection of musings on life and misogyny.
And Smalls' status as an elder statesman of the the stalled career has attracted a veritable pantheon of his peers and misguided disciples to assist in his mission to melt your face, or at least your blancmange. Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Chad Smith, Rick Wakeman, Judith Owen, David Crosby, Dweezil Zappa, Donald Fagen and a host of others (the end is listless) lend their immense talents to augment Small's limited ones.
Although many of these stars were presumably tricked into working for free, no expense was spared in the making of this album as several of the tracks are given added heft by the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, who just happened to be on holiday in Swansea when producer (and former Tap sideman), C.J. Vanston, bumped into them whilst out for a lime creme.
The end result is an album teeming with grandeur, power and puns. Songs like "Butt Call", "Gummin' The Gash" (wait...what?), "She Puts The Bitch In Obituary" and the pseudo-epic, "When Men Did Rock" are sure to take their place on the bottom shelf in the annals of British Metal fatigue.
Smalls Change (meditations upon ageing) is a must-have, unless you don't really need it
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.