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Combine two rock legends with a hot rhythm trio from Brazil and you get OTR (On The Rocks). Led by the bluesy, soulful and distinctive voice of former Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton and the expressive fretwork of ex Focus guitarist Jan Dumee, OTR are completed by the swinging powerful Brazilian rhythm section of Ney Conceicao on Bass, Xande Figueiredo on Drums and Marvio Ciribelli on Organ, Rhodes and Piano to create “Mamonama”.
OTR’s debut album is home to ten tracks of classic rock coupled with some jazz influences that encapsulates various moods and expressions in an accessible package for all fans of melodic and classic rock.


OTR ‘Mamonama’ Lion Music (2008) www.lionmusic.com

   O.T.R (On The Rocks) brings together ex-Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton and ex-Focus guitarist Jan Dumee (ex-Focus) backed by a set of highly talented Brazilian musicians, namely drummer Xande Figuerueido, keyboardist Marvio Ciribelli and bassist Ney Conceicao (all these three have worked with Jan Dumee previously on his solo album).

   Listening to this album it could have been recorded back in the 70’s with its laid back blues meets rock feel although the opening song ‘Ghetto’ has a funk feel and there are a few jazz touches on ‘The Corner Club’ (very Steely Dan in sound and feel). ‘Hello (Dona Nobis Pacem)’ features lots of vocal harmonies and makes for a real standout song on the album. John Lawton really shines (if you pardon the pun!) on ‘Shine’, putting in an emotive vocal to a lovely ballad. The album does rock out on a couple of occasions with ‘Taking You Down’ and ‘Woman’ seeing the blues rock side of Lawton’s singing and Dumee’s playing coming to the fore.

   An album for the quieter moments as it is one to savour and enjoy featuring some very accomplished guitar playing. The musical variety on here will certainly surprise fans of Lawton’s Uriah Heep days and if anything lovers of Steely Dan would do well to check this album out. Hopefully we will hear more from this band in the future.


Jason Ritchie

OTR (On The Rocks): Mamonama

Melodic Rock/Progressive Rock

Rating: 4.75/5.0
Lion Music
Now for something completely different, creative and unique: OTR aka On The Rocks. OTR is former Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton and former Focus guitarist Jan Dumee backed up by a very talented and tight Brazilian rhythm section featuring Xande Figueiredo (Drums), Ney Conceicao (Bass), and Marvio Ciribelli (Keyboards). This collaboration yields some terrific melodic and progressive rock fusing blues, jazz, and much more.

Mr. Lawton has never sounded better: his voice is passionate, strong and soulful. He is simply stunning on the opener 'Ghetto,' 'Hello Dona Nobis Pacem,' and 'Steal The Night.' Dumee shows his own brilliance exploring his guitar with equal passion and ingenuity as on the aforementioned 'Steal The Night,' but also on 'Taking You Down' and 'Mamonama.' Words cannot express the strength and steadiness of the rhythm section; most bands would kill for such precision. Listen for Conceicao's bass work on 'Face To Face,' simply outstanding. Marvio Ciribelli also deserves special recognition for his superb keyboard as on 'Ghetto' and 'Mamonama.' All these songs are incredibly creative and enjoyable as is the whole of 'Mamonama.' The real ear pleasers for me were 'Ghetto,' wildly different, 'The Corner Club,' melodic and just plain fun,' and the beautifully soulful, 'Shine.' If there was any bump in the road, it was with 'Woman' which really did not capture my interest. But considering the strength of the surrounding material, this is hardly significant.

Frankly readers, it doesn't get much better than OTR for a classic rock sound made fresh and, more importantly, significant for a new day. 'Mamonama' is a complete and satisfying work that deserves your immediate attention. Highly recommended!   - Craig Hartranft

OTR – Mamonama

2008 Lion Music

Purveying the tradition of classic boogie rock, OTR know how to keep the groove going. Leading the way is former Uriah Heep/Lucifer’s Friend vocalist John Lawton and ex-Focus axeman Jan Dumee for record of real rock and roll. No, it’s not a big melodic rock record, an overwhelming prog record, or a headbanging metal record – just a down to earth rock record – and no complaints. Similar to Lawtons former band Heep, as well as Nazereth, early Aerosmith, and Johnny Winter’s more rock oriented work – there is a heavy sound that hearkens the days of 70’s AOR – yet it’s anything but dated.

Striking upon the axe attack of Dumee and the commanding vocals of Lawton, “Take you Down,” the jumpy & soulful “Face to Face,” the blues-funk of “Woman,” and the R&B infused “Ride On” purvey the heavy blues rock influence while the semi-acoustic cuts such as “Steal the Night” & “The Corner Club” and the ballad “Shine,” with it’s gospel infused chorus, show a more laid back approach to the rock mantra that the band possesses.

There are no synthesizers (but a lot of grinding Hammond, occasional piano & Rhodes), no overzealous production, or any electronic blips for that matter; whereas the record has a live vibe. One thing though, is that Mamonama is a unique record unto itself, nobody makes records like these anymore, yes we all love our technical progressive metal and the big sound of modern AOR, but this is something that is much well welcome upon the ears; it’s about time somebody went in the studio and made a record of real soulful blues-rock; hails to OTR for doing so.

Added: October 19th 2008
Reviewer: Tommy Hash  www.ytsejam.com