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Black Ladder

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Black Ladder An Ambitious Few album cover
3.88 | 21 ratings | 1 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bora Bora (7:57)
2. Magic Doctor (7:13)
3. Speakin' Easy (4:21)
4. March of Cambyses (6:57)
5. One Quiet Night (6:54)
6. Junk Mail (4:47)
7. Orionis (8:40)
8. Midnight at Dracula's (6:09)

Total Time 52:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Shane Lamb / keyboards, percussion, vocals, production & mixing
- Clarence Riley IV / bass, didgeridoo, yak horn, vocals
- Ray Cardenas / drums, percussion, kazoo, toy whistle, vocals

- Lisa Lamb / flute (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Culler

Digital album (2018)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BLACK LADDER An Ambitious Few ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

BLACK LADDER An Ambitious Few reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by andrea
4 stars An Ambitious Few is the second album by Black Ladder, an American trio from Austin, Texas. It was self-released in 2018 with a consolidated line up featuring Shane Lamb (keyboards, percussion, vocals), Clarence Riley IV (bass, didgeridoo, vocals) and Ray Cardenas (drums, percussion, vocals) plus the help of a guest in one track, Lisa Lamb (flute). In my opinion, this work confirms all the good qualities of the debut album showcasing great musicianship and creativity while the kaleidoscopic mix of heterogeneous influences craftily brewed into something new and captivating is well depicted by Michael Culler's artwork that probably describes its musical content better than all my words?

The opener "Bora Bora" is a nice piano driven track mixing classical influences and exotic touches of colourful rhythm grooves. The title refers to an island group in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of the French Republic in the Pacific Ocean, and the music could be the perfect score for a seventies Franch-Italian exotic adventure film... The following "Magic Doctor" starts by wordless vocals conjuring up a mysterious atmosphere, then veers to a kind of psychedelic jazz fusion that every now and again reminds me of Donovan's "Barabajagal". Then it's the turn of "Speakin' Easy" a timeless ragtime veiled of shadows and obscure impulsions...

"March Of Cambyses", starts with a martial marching beat and the organ in the forefront. The title seems to refer to the myth a Persian army that entered the Egypt's western desert near Luxor to destroy the Oracle of Amun at Siwa Oasis and was overwhelmed by a sandstorm and destroyed. Sandstorms swallowed the temples, the wind has worn out the face of statues... Yet... Something remains. A vague, dangerous power that sleeps at the bottom of the tombs. It's there, dozing off, and it only asks to wake up. Do you understand? Well this track more than to Cambyses' army reminds me of a peculiar French adventure novel where the desert becomes a puppet theatre for vindictive and jealous gods, Les cavaliers de la pyramide by Serge Bussolo.

Next come the soft, dreamy "One Quiet Night" and "Junk Mail" with its organ waves and funky bass lines that could recall Jimmy Smith. The following "Orionis" starts from a dazzling, classical inspired piano incipit, then the rhythm rises taking you out for a wonderful musical journey through time and space while the aggressive, threatening "Midnight At Dracula's" closes the album with its dark energy and a nightmarish atmosphere.

All in all, an excellent album that really deserves a try!

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