Diesel : 7 Axes

Cover albums (or in this case EPs) are a real mystery. An enigma, if you will. It's often an act of clutching at straws for long-past-their-peak artists, trying to keep themselves in the spotlight for just that little longer. Or is it desperation of another kind? An artist who's simply completely run out of ideas and creativity? Perhaps an attempt at a cure of what might seem to be permanent writer's block.


There's probably a little more of the former than the latter in this case. Diesel, or Johnny Diesel, or Mark Lizotte, or whatever he is this decade, is actually a very talented and credible artist. He possesses a striking and powerful voice, and guitar skills to absolutely die for. After his initial flirtation with bogan-rock in the '80s as guitar player in Barnesy's solo band and with his own band Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, he successfully expanded his palette to find a few hits and ARIA awards in the '90s. However, he possibly may not have ultimately reached the dizzying heights of success that his undeniable talent perhaps should have destined him for. Today, he releases an album of more-than-competent rock every couple of years and tours nationally, playing mid-sized clubs and pubs with a stripped-down band behind him.


As for 7 Axes, nothing much can really be said. It's six covers, from not-unexpected artists such as Neil Young, the 'Stones and Hendrix. He does them well, with both his voice and guitar playing predictably shining through. Does he make them his own? No. That's the problem. Songs like Satisfaction and Stone Free are so iconic that this is virtually impossible, but 7 Axes would've made more sense if it was about re-imagining the tunes in Diesel's own way. He injects (pardon the pun) some Blues Brothers influenced r'n'b into the former, but that's about where the attempts at doing something new with the tunes begin and end.


If you dig Diesel's vocals and six string talents, you will probably love listening to him do these classic songs. Indeed, this release is specifically for you.


Best track: Stone Free

If you dig these, you'll dig this: All of Diesel's solo albums, rock covers albums

In a word: Standard