A lot of interesting things can be said about Derrick Anderson, the Los Angeles-based bass guitar master; for a start, he’s now released his debut solo album, A World Of My Own at the age of 53. Second, as Mr. Anderson put it, “I guess most people would be surprised to find that it’s by a 53-year-old black guy from Toledo, Ohio.” While that may, indeed, be good for a chuckle, the fact is these thirteen songs, including 12 originals (one co-write) and a cover of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” is an inspired collection of crunchy, guitar driven power pop. It also speaks volumes when you look at some of the names that helped Mr. Anderson bring this collection to life – as a sample, Matthew Sweet, Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson of The Bangles, thunder drummer Jim Laspesa and many other incredibly talented guest performers – all of whom brought their talents to Mr. Anderson’s party.
And a delicious party it is, with “Waiting For You”, a prime slice of Smithereens-inspired (*wink*) rock, complete with descending hooks, Mr. Anderson’s warm and smooth voice and harmonies galore – this is the kind of music a “power pop” (yes, I know) fan like me sinks his teeth into without hesitation. Oh, and by the way, the players on this track ARE the aforementioned Smithereens. Subsequently, “Send Me Down A Sign” has that exquisite Teenage Fanclub/Matthew Sweet feel; again, melody, hooks, and I love the structure with the starts-and-stops on the verses; “Something New” has a sweet, emotionally-charged organ intro mixed with delicate guitars (I think I hear 12-string Rics) and is the “ballad” standout of this album and “Happiness” is 100% neo-psychedelic riff rock that is (without sounding cliched) pure joy and perfect – that mid-’60’s style crossed with the “Paisley Underground” and again, the harmonies are sheer delight. “My Prediction” is another masterpiece; an exercise in melody, structure and execution (again) – one of those moments where you think in a perfect (or at least a just world), this would be coming out of car radios everywhere and Mr. Anderson’s take on “Norwegian Wood” is a complete deconstruction/reconstruction, done in a heavier, late-’60’s style rock manner. This may be a stretch, but my first thought was if Alex Chilton had done this on his 1970 album; a deep get-down groove – funky, loose and punctuated with just the right guitar fills (including the beloved riff). I love the fact that it’s unrecognizable from the original version!
I know I’ve only singled out a few of the songs, but this is another case of “I’ve focused on these, but you need to hear the entire album”. You will be thrilled, if not instantly obsessed. Which is what every great album should do upon first listen. And for a 53-year old to deliver such an album of quality and taste – well, it was worth the wait. Hopefully now, it’s not just A World Of My Own for Derrick Anderson; it’s for all of us.
A World Of My Own is available now