My Darling Clementine
Continental Song City
Our Favourite Husband & Wife Tear Up The Country Duet Rule Book!!
While a host of giddy young things are being hailed in the national media as either being the ‘saviours’ or even ‘inventors’ of British Country Music, Michael Weston King has been consistently releasing albums that defy the title ‘British’; and in the last few years alongside wife Lou Dalgleish has released three nigh perfect Country Duet albums and the collaboration with crime writer Mark Billingham created a whole new Country-Noir genre.
Still with a Country Heart, this latest release from My Darling Clementine shuffles the cards like a magician taking their now distinctive sound into it’s very own musical stratosphere.
I actually went ‘Ooooooooohhhh’ when the opening stanzas to first track Embers and Flames oozed out of the car speakers. What a way to capture the attention…….a great 60’s big band feel to the rhythm section, but red hot and bittersweet lyrics for the couple to spit out at each other as their relationship fizzles out like a spectacular firework always does; and the song contains my favourite saddest line ever “And the bedroom’s just for sleeping”. Oh dear…..that lyric hurts more than any other.
This followed by a Lou Dalgleish penned song, Eugene where Lou takes the lead and Michael tells his part from the shadows as a mournful brass band add just enough pathos to keep you from crying; but only just.
Two songs in and I was hooked like a musical heroin addict.
Oh Dear Lord I won’t forget the first time I heard Jolene’s Song…… another song from Lou’s pen; where she takes the place of the original Jolene and the resulting song has been worth the 50 year wait!
While listening to the sharp as a tack There’s Nothing That You Can Tell Me (That I Don’t Already Know) I was reminded of the Beautiful South, then the penny dropped that Paul Heaton’s Countryish album last year with Jacqui Abbott completely ripped off My Darling Clementine! Fancy that….and the track is a humdinger too btw.
My Darling Clementine have never been your ordinary duo/band; as they are very theatrical in everything they do or perform, with each and every story conjuring up Technicolour images to go with the song. Friday Night/Tulip Hotel; a tale of sad infidelity is a perfect example and the jaunty Tear Stained Smile is just the same with the listener picturing the singers playing out their roles while tapping the toes at the same time.
Two Lane Texaco fits that description too; but this inspired tale of a decaying small town somewhere in rural America demands that the video would be in sepia.
Mrs. Magpie is a fan too and after playing the album while doing the ironing last weekend she decided that Yours Is The Cross That I Still Bear; a Soulful story about a couple ‘going through the motions’ was her favourite song; while I went for the out and out love song…..Since I Fell For You. But then again, I’ve always been a soppy romantic and the line “Now I stand by by your side/I understand the Sin of Pride” should be tattooed across my heart.
I love the way Michael and Lou aren’t prepared to ‘go through the motions’ with their music and are prepared to push their own boundaries to create something vibrant and exciting, without alienating their core fans.
Released June 2nd 2017