Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra
Soul of My City
Tea Pad Recordings
Insightful and High Quality Roots Music Deluxe.
When not fronting the Tea Pad Orchestra Rob Heron will usually be found scavenging the singles racks (45’s AND 78’s) of record shops for rare and usually obsolete records from every single genre of Roots Music known to man; and if he’s not playing them at Record Hops in the back (or occasionally front) of pubs around Newcastle; he’s devouring them for influences for his delightful beat combo the Tea Pad Orchestra……. as is instantly evident on this; the band’s fourth fully formed LP.
The seed is firmly planted for all to hear on the swinging Honky Tonk love Let’s Go Back in Time which comes out of the speakers like the Wabash Cannonball fired up on High Octane Diesel!
While it’s obvious these cats know their history; The Tea Pad Orchestra are more than capable of writing a contemporary song; albeit with a Classic/Traditional rocking beat (check out previous singles High Speed Train and The Devil Wears a Blue Tie!) and here the second track There’s a Hole in My Pocket (Where My Pocket Used to Be.) is a clever and articulate take on the sad plight of the working man in today’s economy; and a very danceable tune will do it no harm either.
That’s always been the joy of Tea Pad music; it may ‘sound’ old fashioned; but listen to Rob’s often biting and always insightful lyrics and your head will spin like one of his favourite 78’s.
There’s fun and frolics around every corner here, with Life Is a Drag, Fool Talkin’ Man and the cheeky Double Meaning, Double Entendre all being intricately clever songs masquerading as joyful romps.
I’m sure he’s written a love song before but I can’t remember one catching my attention like Holy Moly (I’m In Love Again) does; and that’s not just because of Tom Cronin’s superb harmonica interludes and the Doo-Wop harmonies. This is immediatly followed by a 60’s pastiche tale of heartbreak; One Letter Away From Lonely; which shows not just Rob Heron’s quirky sense of humour but highlights his maturing songwriting ability too.
As I alluded to earlier, Rob and the Teapads constantly hide razor sharp contemporary ‘messages’ behind Rootsy melodies; and that’s exactly what they do with the amazing title track Soul of My City; which could be about most cities around the world these days; but none more so than mine and Rob’s precious Newcastle Upon Tyne; with the singer barely containing his anger and resentment at the mess town planners are making of this characterful, historic and beautiful area; but letting you tap your toes at the same time.
Just when you’d think the songs couldn’t get any better……. Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra crank the quality factor up to 11 on the two songs that tie for the RMHQ Favourite Track honour.
Even though it begins with Rob yodelling his little heart out in a homage to Jimmie Rogers, the song Lonely Boy in The Dole Queue could have been written in the 1920’s but sadly is just as apt in 2019…… and Rob’s astute and insightful words will bring tears to your eyes as you shimmy around the dancefloor.
An intrinsic part of the North East music scene Rob Heron and Tea Pad Orchestra also support their friends by including a ‘cover’ from a local writer on their albums; and this one is no different with the inclusion of a song I once played an exclusive demo version of on my short lived radio show many years ago…….. Drinking and Carrying on, written by mutual friend Davy Patton, of Sour Mash Trio fame; and this lovely Rumbatastic version is my other Favourite Track on a classy album chock full of radio friendly songs.
I’ve known Rob Heron since before he could shave and it’s fair to say I’ve watched him and the various incantations of the Orchestra evolve from being a raggle-taggle Olde Timey covers band playing for fun and beer into the fully formed and (by far) the best Good Time band on the planet!
This dear reader; is a collection of Classy Roots Music Deluxe!
Released February 1st 2019