Don Gordon’s Bandolier
Pure Dead Quality From Start to Finish.
Don Gordon? Apparently an ex-member of Glaswegian band The Primevals and a long time collaborator with our chum Wily Bo; which hiked this release straight up the to-do list!
Before I actually tell you about the wondrous music on this album, I have to tell you that it’s ‘not for everyone’ as Mrs. Magpie and her famous scowl will testify! But, if you enjoy singers who are blessed with larynx’s like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and two of Glasgow’s finest; Messr’s Alex Harvey & Dave Arcari you are gonna love these songs!
The jangly guitar that leads into opening track September Rain will remind you of Teenage Fanclub at their height; but when Wily Bo enters the fray, drawling Don Gordon’s magnificent words with Louise Ward double-tracked on backing vocals; you know you aren’t in Kansas any more Toto. The song is really, really special in a way that defies categorisation….. is it the Blues? Sort of. Is it Rock? Not really, but maybe. Is it Contemporary Pop? Yessish; but add all three together and it’s the perfect introduction to Don Gordon’s Bandolier and the music that they create.
That classy, enigmatic theme continues through Pictures of Lanark, a duet between Wily Bo and Louise which reminded me of those songs Nick Cave and Kylie recorded; but with a catchy melody.
There are but 7 songs here and each is as memorable as each other, but invariably ‘different’ too; with the Bandoliers getting all smouldering and swampy on I Will Be There but turning Cryin’ Out into a thrill a minute car chase of a twisted Gospel song, and closing the album with Walking In The Past which sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a Film-Noir LA Cop thriller; which features some extraordinary diesel powered bass and drumming from Clarky and The Rocket.
This leaves but two other songs to talk about. Bandolier/Prayer whizzed me back to those nights when I would sit in my bedroom listening to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band on headphones; trying to make sense of the exciting and mesmerising sound that was filling my head. It’s the same here; if I tell you that it’s a sort of Epic Rock Song featuring The Doune & Deanston Pipe Band (them’s real bagpipes btw), Louise Ward sounding all floaty and siren like while Don Gordon makes his guitar strings sound like they are made from slithering snakeskin and Wily Bo partly sings through a decoder before summoning up the demons in our Souls you will think I’m mad….. but give it a listen; it’s bloody cracking!
Then of course, there has to be my Favourite Song, and it was an easy selection. While possibly the most commercial song here Who’s Kissing You? not just fits in perfectly but stands out like a sunflower at noon too, as Gordon makes his guitar not just weep but bleed too as Clarky and The Rocket keep better time than a brand new Rolex, behind him and the glorious singers Wily Bo and Louise Ward.
While I’m always flattered to receive albums by household names and even the occasional Superstar at RMHQ, but albums like this are not just the life blood of my site but the Music Industry too…… with ‘Quality’ being the word that kept coming into my head as every song came onto the stereo and again now, as I type.