04 October 2016 (released)
08 November 2016
Used Man For Sale is the eighth studio album from New York crooner, Phil Gammage. The seasoned veteran blurs the line between down-tempo blues and the country-western of generations past where the singers spent their days evading the long arm of the law rather than getting their hair highlighted by their stylist. His latest record finds Gammage again wading in his heartaches and turning them into sweet, sweet melodies.
'Arms of a Kind Woman' sets the worn and resigned tone for the rest of the album. He deals in dank saloon blues. Shimmering vibrato slide guitar, tinkering ivory plunks, sloughing bass and broom-shuffle drums. Overtop of it all, a moaning harmonica to speak the thoughts that words can't. Like a late-night Tom Waits lament if Tom finally swallowed all that gravel in his throat and ended up having the voice of an elder statesman of country music.
'I Beg of You' boasts an ultra-cool standup bass lick to give the album a loungey kick. You picture the drummer at his 4 am prime, tie loosened, cigarette dangling, keeping the train rollin' through the morning. Meanwhile, Gammage's cool baritone bounces off that luscious plate reverb to give that dark underbelly of America twang that gave a mystique to Presley, Cash, and Marty Robbins in his romantic lament about “the west Texas town of El Paso”.
'Ride With Railroad Bill' tells the story of a “badass son-of-a-bitch” with a lumbering, slow stomp. His harmonica wails the tale with the woozy timbre of Zeppelin's 'When the Levee Breaks'. This tune takes you right back to the days of ridin' the rails and killing your enemies over a sideways glance.
'Before I Leave' is another low-down grind. Gammage proclaims at the outset, “I wear my shame like a mask on my heart to disguise the way I feel/We been so numb to all that's going on, you see in this world nothing's real”. His gripe is honest and incisive. Michele Butler's backing vocals fuse with Gammage's to reinforce the emotion.
Used Man For Sale deals in a style from years past who's emotions are timeless. His bellowing voice soaked in gorgeous reverb has a haunting quality to it, even in the more uptempo numbers. This record is Gammage once again delivering a collection of living, breathing blues numbers that feel as fresh as the day Elvis wrote about the day his baby left him.