Music Review: Spot Mary Full Of Grace – Joey Ammo

Arlocor Music has released a 5 song maxi-CD from Joey Ammo, recorded at  New Alliance Audio in Cambridge.  It is a terrific outing from the former lead singer of Boston area legend Birdbrain in a nice compact package rife with the obligatory religious overtones.   Opening with a quick burst of “Love Me”, in all its glorious two minutes and fifty seconds, the authoritative riff brings Seattle-styled alt rock to this era with the gritty determination that was such a big part of Birdbrain. The unrequited love hook is followed by Badfinger/Eric Clapton/Cream kinda jangles.  Mike Davy and Ammo are a charging guitar duo with lines that flourish, Davy and Alan Ferix (bass) also adding great vocal harmonies.

“Glue” is even shorter (and heavier) on the Beatles melody flavors and absolute George Harrison guitar lines that are a delight and make this possibly my favorite track of the half a dozen tunes offered – 5 official titles and one “bonus track.”  What is it with this “bonus track” mania? Steve Gilligan of Fox Pass/The Stompers has one on his new release, Jacob’s Ladder, and like…people?…can we just call these 6 song or 15 track releases?  Now that we’ve got that out of the way…”Glue” has all the elements of a hit single, nice vocal break, great hook and a quick fadeout.  “Bigger” clocks in at 2:35 and it crosses a plodding Black Sabbath riff with the original New York Dolls after the Dolls learned how to play.  It’s menacing and would be great for the next Godzilla flick.   As the Shirelles sing in “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” – they just can’t believe the “magic of your size” (or is it sighs? as lustfully pointed out by Cantab ukulele player Eddy White) …perhaps “Bigger” is the sequel to that (free plug – Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles coming to the Kowloon in Saugus on October 27; )

“Teresa” is another plodding stomp, the longest composition on this short disc at 3:33 which has Ammo continuing the musical – and thematic – vibe that the previous three tunes initiated. The entire project has a solid in-the-pocket groove, this one in particular derived out of the second site of the Abbey Road album.  The lyrics are strong, the vocal determined the album title Full of Grace seeming to have little to do with the music contained herein other than that the band is graceful in delivering the hard rock.  “Bone Dry” sums it up nicely and you’ll hear fragments of some of your favorite songs tucked into the musical phrasings…which works for me. It’s a very accessible and well-defined outing including the final folk essay reminiscent of Lou Reed singing to “Jesus” on the third Velvet Underground opus.   Short and sweet – the way I like records (CDs) these days – though with a lot to say.  It’s stated effectively.  Grade A.  Nice to have Joey Ammo back, and back in a big (or bigger) way.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.