Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gary Bennett - My Ol' Guitar Raucous BR-549 co-founder here delivers a discreetly classic collection of new tunes escorted by some choices from his back catalogue on this second solo release. For the uninitiated the blueprint is Bakersfield country, Nashville balladry & vintae honky-tonkin' two-steps, working man done-wrong & being unduly wronged blues & pretty exquisite laments. A case - & one to keep out of the cabinet - of a troubadour accompanied by assorted compadres providin effective flourishes of fiddle, steel guitar & accordion all furnished by Bennett's keenin twang, reminiscent of Guy Clark. As with his former outfit the clear production may be too antiseptic for those hankering for a more lo-fi rider but even if it doesn't enulf the whole damned forest should you set the woods on fire it sure burns a mightily bright blaze as craftmanship comes to the fore. Stu Gibson
Shaun Horton's Del Rio Ramblers - Go Away Hound Dog Raucous This is a rare old treat indeed. An ensemble of some of the finest players of their ilk never mind country, who've backed legends like Billy Lee Riley & Hardrock unter as well as performin in bands such as The Rhythmaires, The Tennessee Trio & The Riverside Trio. The Ramblers exquisitely recreate pure authentic late 40's / early 50's country honky-tonkers, ballad-tokers, cowboy melodramas & hillbilly swing offering their own compositions alongside covers fresh from the range, all recorded with accurate cabin fever detail (incidentally courtesy of Raucous' in-house engineer extraordinaire & Ramblers' steel player Chris Cummings). So, sure, you can expect fiddle, double-bassin', pedal steel (& hats) & songs from the Hank Williams & Ray Price era & style but also be prepared for an emphatic out-of-boots-&-afloat-in-your-hat experience as this truly does belon up there with their hallowed influences. And should be lavished indulently in your record collection. Stu Gibson
The Mahones - The Black Irish Whiskey Devil / True North Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year as well as having a song (Paint The Town Red - updated & included here) on The Fighter movie soundtrack, this Montreal-based rogues allery return with a blast of pub-ready, bleary-eyed but chest-pumping punked-up Celtic folk fusion & fury that nevertheless keeps it's finger near the finer point of a narrative, without being locked-in to some vaue pastiche of The Pogues. There's hoarse reminisces, coarse drinking blitzes, rousing anti-war sentiments, a welcome interpretation of The Replacements always beguiling Here Comes A Regular (yet another stomp through The Wild Rover may not be the most necessary inclusion but hell, I aren't arguing with 'em) but also some tender-eyed balladry (Girl With Galway Eyes, Whiskey Under The Bridge) to temper the after-effects of accordion & tin-whistle rampages of A Great Night On The Lash, Lord Of The Dirty Hordes or A Pain From Yesterday. Stu Gibson
Scott Morgan - Scott Morgan Alive NaturalSound Longtime compadre and collaborator with Detroit punk rock collision courses like Stooge Scott Asheton & MC5's Fred Smith's Sonic's Rendezvous Band (it's quite a shiftless list so just type another line into the wideworld Wurlitzer baby), Morgan has been amon the uniquely unsung since barely out of high school hustling his white boy soul 'n' blues band The Rationals. Here he muscles in with a rock-a-soul-a rumpus like some sort of exile on Motown's side streets, mixing covers of The Four Tops, Nina Simone & Bobby Gentry with originals of well-staxed, heavy lidded, early mornin blue-eyed soul into slipstreams full of the grit scraping the back of your knee of his hometown associates. Louche, certainly, but surely no slouch in the celebratory musical stakes while his soulful vocals are slung out with a grace & stylish fervour recalling Steve Marriott & Dion's 70's descent into returning to slender sales with the monumental Born To Be With You album. A colossally unassuming treasure. Stu Gibson
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