NIKKI SUDDEN: The Last Bandit – The Best Of Nikki Sudden: 2XCD

Nikki Sudden is the unspoken top contender in an ear-comforting class of musical majesty that’s equal parts tavern rock’n’roll, ’60s-style jukebox pop, mid-‘80s jangle-rock, and rootsy rural downhome charm. Although his shimmering aural effervescence is incomparable in its sheer shining brilliance, his audial artistry can be rightfully compared to the American heartland exuberance of Tom Petty, the pained hollow-hearted honesty of “Walls and Bridges”-era John Lennon, and the frenzied Crazy Horse folksiness of Neil Young (if ol’ Neil were more of a brew-drenched Sunset Strip scene-shaker and less of a whiney tofu-munchin’ hippy). At times, a swirling maelstrom of guitar-saturated psychedelia frenetically lurches forth and inspires my senses to spin around and around and then loopity-loop right back again. And I do declare, the upbeat urban vibe of “Countess” sounds uncannily like a long-lost outtake from The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” sessions (but then “Captain Kennedy” is the sonic siamese-twin equivalent of Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It”, and “Behind The Lines” is raucously reminiscent of Marc Bolan (T. Rex) in all of his baddest boogie-boy bravado). And Disc 2 is an acoustic resurrection of Johnny Thunders brashly payin’ semi-reverential homage to a younger more rebellious Bobby Dylan. Wow, Mr. Sudden is certainly skilled at crafting well-structured musical magnificence and then polishing it to sparkling perfection. Like my favorite frothy fermented beverage, this delectable disc is good to the last drop!

 –guest (Alive/Total Energy)