In 1981 the Climax Blues Band was located in Los Angeles, recording yet another album to meet the heavy demand for their musical aspirations. Lucky For Some featured, once again, the tightly knit line up of Peter Haycock on guitar and vocals, Colin Cooper on vocals and saxophone, Derek Holt on vocals, bass guitar and keyboards and John Cuffley on drums. By now, the band had been on the road for a decade or more and played with a telepathic sense of communication on these nine superb original LP tracks, including four Haycock originals. But the guys were also helped out in the studio by some distinguished guests, notably the late session keyboard player Nicky Hopkins and vocalist Glenn Hughes. Complete with a saucy album cover design, Lucky For Some has some hot performances like Peter's Shake It Lucy and Derek Holt's Breakdown , plus a bonus track Darlin (single version).
Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album, made up of keyboard-dominated instrumentals ("The Barbarian," "Three Fates") and romantic ballads ("Lucky Man") showcasing all three members' very daunting talents. This album, which reached the Top 20 in America and got to number four in England, showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly – with the exception of a few moments on "Three Fates" and perhaps "Take a Pebble," there isn't much excess, and there is a lot of impressive musicianship here. "Take a Pebble" might have passed for a Moody Blues track of the era but for the fact that none of the Moody Blues' keyboard men could solo like Keith Emerson.
Those who liked the moodier, more atmospheric material on the last Mark Lanegan Band offering, 2004's Bubblegum, will find much to enjoy on Blues Funeral – an album that has little to do with blues as a musical form. Lanegan has been a busy man since Bubblegum. In the nearly eight ensuing years, he's issued three records with Isobel Campbell, joined Greg Dulli in the Gutter Twins, guested on albums by the Twilight Singers and UNKLE, and was the lead vocalist on most of the last two Soulsavers offerings. Produced by Eleven guitarist Alain Johannes (who also fulfills that role here as well as playing bass, keyboards, and percussion), Blues Funeral finds Lanegan in a musically ambitious place. His voice is deeper, smokier, but more restrained, even on the few straight-up rockers. The grain in his voice is more pronounced, offering a sense of coiled menace on each track, one that is ready at all points to explode the musical confines these songs erect, and to overwhelm them all. To his credit, he never does. While the album is sequenced seamlessly, with varying textures and dynamics, there are standouts.