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Review: Ringo sideman Mark Rivera shows good stuff on 'Common Bond' solo album

The cover of Mark Rivera's album "Common Bond."
The cover of Mark Rivera's album "Common Bond."
Red River Entertainment

Mark Rivera "Common Bond"


Most anyone who has seen Ringo Starr's All Starrs or Billy Joel over the years has seen Mark Rivera, saxophonist and experienced musician. It should be no surprise that his first solo album, “Common Bond,” in which he steps out front for the first time, is a solid record that packs quite a punch.

The record, released Tuesday, is filled with wonderful moments, beginning with the opening track, “Loraine,” that combines acoustic and electric guitar. This bounces straight into “Sticky Situation,” which rocks with a Rolling Stones feel.

One of the surprises of the record is the very daring cover of Jimi Hendrix's “Spanish Castle Magic.” The power in the cover comes from the guitar work by Steve Conte, drums by Charley Drayton and Hammond B-3 organ by Billy Joel, in addition to Rivera's screaming sax and vocals. Another cover is Fleetwood Mac's “Tell Me All the Things That You Do” that just sizzles with the version on this album.

And Ringo Starr makes an appearance on drums on “Money, Money, Money,” a funky song with a lot of bounce.

The band on the record includes Drayton, Conte, Jeff Kazee on keyboards and John Conte on bass. Other guest stars include Robert Randolph, Nils Lofgren, Will Lee and Steve Lukather.

But it should be no surprise that a guy who's been around as long as Rivera should come up with an album so good. He's shown his stuff time after time in Ringo Starr's and Billy Joel's live shows, plus on records. “Common Bond” puts it down for the record, so to speak.

And it's one of those records that your ears will enjoy. It's that good.