“Been A Long Time”, the second track on Rise & Shine, opens with a bouncy Wurlitzer piano riff, chased by a Hammond B3 organ and vocals that sound as if they’re in the near distance, plaintive and urgent at the same time. The sum is catchy and smart pop. To call it Beatlesque is almost demeaning, since the man making the music has been around as long as the Fab Four.
These days, Ian McLagan, he of the Small Faces pedigree, fronts the Bump Band, an ensemble that includes anything-with-strings whiz Gurf Morlix, guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb, drummer Don Harvey, bassist George Reiff, and, on this occasion, Nanci Griffith on backing vocals. Not the next Beatles, but not a bad lineup.
Rise & Shine turns out to be a warm, entirely listenable collection of roots-pop, if there is such a thing. McLagan lays down hooky keyboard grooves and sings with a compelling combination of excitement and wariness.
“You’re My Girl” leads off the disc with a shot of timeless organ-driven rock ‘n’ roll that, funny enough, brings to mind Swag, a band that celebrated the type of vintage power-pop McLagan helped popularize. There are change-ups in the pop to keep listeners on their toes: “Price Of Love” veers off into blues; “Rubies In Her Hair” is a wee bit Rockpilian; “The Wrong Direction”, with a honky-tonk piano and slide guitar at the forefront, still manages to be a soulful shuffle.
For a guy best known over the years as an accompanist to the likes of Dylan, the Stones and Springsteen, McLagan makes a pretty good frontman.