Thursday, 23 February 2017

Chip Taylor - A Song I Can Live With, album review

Authentic and Unpretentious

The second song Until it Hurts on Chip Taylor’s latest album is so symptomatic of the great songwriting on this album: simplicity swelled with experience and meaningfulness. Essentially a spoken narrative – addressing songwriting itself – Taylor talks about honest songwriting whilst he ruminates on the death of David Bowie and Lou Reed. Prior to this, the song had begun as the most ordinary account of walking to the health club for a workout [and the song has a chorus-build very similar to Trent Reznor’s Hurt, presumably a direct echo because it uses that word], and when he puts the earplugs in getting on the treadmill he delivers the line I listen to a collage of our love and pain, turn the numbers up again and again until it hurts and you assume this is about a personal relationship – but it is, I presume from what follows, about the music that has and will always survive the artists [writers and performers] who have died.

The album opens on a clever, affecting song, Crazy Girl. Delivered like all in a grizzled spoken vocal, the rapid repetition of crazy girl and with the sweetest eyes/humble eyes and another repetition she could sing my song my song my song it is genuinely so powerful. It could be any girl, of course, but it could be any one or an amalgam of Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and others who sang his songs.

This is an intimate acoustic recording, so close and real that you hear Taylor’s breathing and other sounds of being so close to the microphone. It really couldn’t get any more authentic and unpretentious than this.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Legs Music 20

Simon Kirke - All Because Of You

Oh Dear....

I’m happy
in every way
so happy
it’s a brand new day
there’s a song in my heart
a spring in my step
look out baby,
you ain’t seen nothing yet

These are the opening lyrics to the opening title track and it doesn’t get any better than this [and I mean that literally rather than understatement], either the continuing twee narrative or the album. I rarely write negative reviews – what is the point – but this is disappointing to say the least. I believe I felt exactly the same about his previous solo outing. This is dreadful. Even a ukulele with reggae version of Kirke’s self-penned and Bad Company legendary song Feel Like Making Love cannot retrieve a thing, but then, surely, such a musical curveball is bound to go awry.

Into the Distance Music Half Century

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Joey Landreth - Whiskey, album review

Gentle Appeal

Canadian singer and songwriter Landreth’s debut solo album is a fine slice of west coast Country, so apt to think of The Eagles and Vince Gill [yes, I thought that would be an interesting musical morph]. From both of these touchstones you get the gentle clarity of the vocal, but there are harmonies in attendance to broaden the echo, as in the title track, and his own guitar playing is clearly accomplished. The overall mood is laid back – in a restful sense – but in many ways this exemplifies the perfections in the performance and production: Time Served is a gentle, guitar reverbing romance; Still Feel Gone is a soothing blues ballad [with sweet slide]; Better Together has an R&B upbeatness about it, and closer Remember is an acoustic folkcountry ballad, pedal steel laying those introspective waves. Quietly impressive.