Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2018 May-June Contents Rhythms 25
Donovan may have perceived the Hurdy-Gurdy man as
singing songs of love, however Frenchman Gilles Chabenat
has a very different perspective on the medieval instrument.
With two other Frenchmen, he travelled to northern
Mississippi, met up with the descendants of bona fide
country blues legends, e.g. Cedric Burnside and Cameron
Kimbrough, and headed to iconic locations like Dockery
Farm to make these field recordings. The result is a cracking
country blues album that reeks of back porch Mississippi
authenticity – and the crazy sound of a droning Hurdy-
Gurdy. Have a listen.
NOTES FROM AN ISLAND
Each new album sees the British singer/songwriter’s
undoubted talents reach new levels. So, too, he moves
further away from his folk heritage, but that’s not to say
that this terrific album isn’t informed by a folk sensibility.
A set of songs that contextually allude to the isolation of
pre-Brexit Britain and the fallout of relationship breakdown,
there’s a maturity to his songwriting that belies his years.
As he sings “well if you don’t like Ry Cooder, how could I ever
be sweet on you” (‘Sweet On You’) it’s pretty darned hard not
to nod in agreement.
LIVE AT CHICKIE WAH WAH
For anyone visiting the Big Easy not to see Jon Cleary play
live is tantamount to musical sacrilege. This live recording
of just Cleary and his piano showcases him at the top of
his game and provides a fabulous insight into the heritage
of New Orleans RnB. Whether it’s an obscure barrelhouse
boogie or a funky rendition of one of his own originals, this
is the pared back sound of the funkiest piano player in a city
renowned for them; great stuff.
Only a ROCK GOD could have Richard Thompson, Joe
Satriani, Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman, Waddy Wachtel,
Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Donald Fagen, Jeff “Skunk”
Baxter and Larry Carlton – to name but a few! – queueing
up to play on his album. The thunder-fingered bassman
formerly of heavy metal demi-gods Spinal Tap, is back, lock
up your grandmothers!
How refreshing to hear a positive youthful voice. The
London reggae quartet are a family concern and set to
follow in the footsteps of other UK reggae giants Steel
Pulse, Talisman and Black Symbol. The choogling ‘Vampire
Slayer’ is an anthem in waiting, and the Rastafarian
message simmers throughout; whether their youthful
counterparts listen, and are willing to set aside earthly
pleasures and material possessions in their quest for
enlightenment, is an entirely different proposition
HOUSE OF JOY
Given the constant flow of brilliant music from Studio One,
it must be a bottomless vault of hidden treasures. Named
after the Down Beat sound system speakers that powered
Jamaica’s dancehalls, this box set collects 15 singles (A &
B sides from the archives with a heavy focus on early 60s
rarities. The sound quality (and source perhaps) tends to
vary, but Jimmy Newton’s ultra-rare ‘Fooling You’, Larry
Marshall’s ‘Nanny Goat’ and the Wailers’ ‘Simmer Down’ are
highlights in what will be a welcome release for Studio One
and reggae collectors.
If Richey’s contemporary country sound was a little too
distilled for you, then the good news is that, after a five year
hiatus, she has returned with a fantabulous new album that,
whilst still firmly country, has an earthier robustness to it.
Her songwriting is first class; try the spine-tingling ‘Chase
Wild Horses’ for size, or ‘Pin A Rose’ which could have
come from The Jayhawks songbook. Best of all is ‘Whistle
On Occasion’, a deliciously stripped down duet with Chuck
Prophet. Her songs have made stars of others, Edgeland
should do it for herself.
JUST ENOUGH SUN
Confession time – I was unfamiliar with the Massachusetts
singer-songwriter; not any longer! An intimate exploration
of childhood, family and friends, the songs are dripping
with pathos, and her visceral voice exposes all the
vulnerability of Maloney’s cathartic recollections. This is
the most intense 25 minutes you will hear in 2018.
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