The Most Ugly Child
Copper & Lace
Timeless Country-Folk Heartbreakers From the Bagthorpe Delta.
Even though it was 2014 it seems a lifetime ago since I received a mysterious parcel containing the debut EP from the quaintly named The Most Ugly Child. They had got my details from our friend Al Rate the young singer and exponent of the banjolele in DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show in Nottinghamshire County.
Not that they have been quiet in the intervening years; they just don’t appear to have had time to go into a recording studio until just before Christmas 2016; and the intervening years has certainly refined, re-defined and filled out their collective ‘sound.’
Opening track What Might Have Been is a rip-snorting, jolly tongue in cheek, Honky-Tonky belter with Daniel Wright and Stevie Leigh-Goodison sounding like a cross between George and Tammy and Bing Crosby duetting with one of the Andrews Sisters!
There are serious moments too; like The Bottle and The Fall which again echoes George Jones more than a little bit; and the tight and feisty Long Gone Woman Blues; which features some smokin’ harmonica tooting too.
The band’s Classic Country record collection oozes out in every track, with Daniel and the delectable Stevie writing being razor sharp and heartfelt on Today You Said Goodbye as they come across as both star crossed and criss crossed lovers in a way not too dissimilar from My Darling Clementine’s last outing.
Yet on Just Another Lesson in Pain, they dip their toe into the Alt. Country pond and it works in a more brittle and touching manner than most other songs here.
Then, just to confuse us Paper, Linen, Copper and Lace, from which the title is taken is a delightful trip into Country-Folk, coupling delicious harmonies with some searing diddle and pedal-steel on a deep, dark tale befitting DH Lawrence country.
By the way this is not just the Daniel and Stevie story; The Most Ugly Child are very much a six piece band with members being drawn from all four quarters of the Bagthorpe Delta and each member more than contributes an equal measure.
Even though I’ve had this album for over a month now and have had it on ‘repeat’ for three days in the car; choosing my favourite track has proved something of a headache but after much deliberation……cue drum roll……I will go for the sad and beauteous Queen of the Honky Tonk as it is pretty much the whole album rolled up into three glorious Countryfied minutes, and a story that nearly had me in tears.
As I keep pointing out British Country Music, in all its formats is in the spotlight at the moment; but most of what you read about is London based/biased….but look a bit deeper and you will find some amazing music coming out of areas like Nottinghamshire that also deserves a National, if not an International stage and The Most Ugly Child could be the first torch bearers for the Bagthorpe Sound.
Released February 24th 2017