Sublime Pedal-Steel Playing Links an Eclectic Concoction of Songs.
As regular readers will already know, we have very eclectic musical tastes here at RMHQ and, YES we listen to absolutely everything we review and only review what we like…….your eyes would water if you saw the box of un-reviewed albums that goes to Oxfam every Quarter.
Which brings me to this disc by SF Pedal-Steel player Joe Goldmark. First of all the album cover initially caught my attention, but when I flipped it over to look at the track list my eyes nearly popped out of my head…..several of the titles looked familiar, but as sure as ‘God makes little green apples’ weren’t Country Songs; and looking back at Joe in his Stetson and Nudie suit, they must be mustn’t they?
Well….no they ain’t, or at least not all of them are as Joe takes us on a musical merry-go-round with his wonderful pedal-steel playing at the heart of a bunch of songs as eclectic as anything we’ve heard here for years.
Opening track the instrumental Night Flight is a Goldmark original and sounds like the Shadows playing in a Nashville Nightclub on a stormy Winter’s night with Joe guesting behind Hank B the boys, and the result is quite spectacular.
WOAH! After that track I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be followed by the Rufus Thomas dance classic All Night Worker with Glenn Walker supplying a delightful Soulful delivery then Dallis Craft turning Roy Orbison’s A Love So Beautiful into slow burning Country-Soul ballad of epic proportions. Bizarrely a pedal-steel as lead instrument in both situations works perfectly well; who’d have thought it?
Back to basics, Joe Goldmark’s own instrumentals are worth the entry fee alone, with Ginger Ale and Tacky Tango sounding like they are just waiting for some enterprising TV Producer to pick them up as theme tunes; but it’s Joe’s selection of cover versions that makes this album stand out.
Perhaps finding Lefty Frizzell’s Look What Thoughts Will Do here isn’t a huge surprise; but hearing Dallis Craft doing her best Patsy Cline impression is; and the last time I heard The Wobble it was an early James Hunter album and was R&B at it’s rawest yet this version with Glenn Walters again on vocals sounds R&B; but that pedal-steel from Goldmark really steals the show, no matter how hard Gary Potterton tries on his electric guitar.
Then, there are the two songs that initially caught my attention…..Bob Marley’s Natty Dread becomes unrecognisable as a Hawaiian nightclub tango (or something!) but lovely none the less; and then there is one of my favourite ever songs, and it’s a brave man who takes on a Graham Parker song; especially Howlin’ Wind…..but somehow this version, with Ms Dallis Craft crooning her little heart out is easily my favourite track on an album chock full of precious gems.
I wish I had the vocabulary to really describe BLUE STEEL, as the sum total probably outweighs the individual tracks, with Joe Goldmark’s sublime pedal-steel playing being the golden thread that links everything together in a very clever manner indeed; making this a very special package indeed.
Released April 20th 2018