The Dicey Rileys
The Ghost Ship
Nice Mind Records
Quality Celtic Folk Music From the Durham Heartlands.
What have I done here?
Regular readers and a few of my friends will be staggered to find me not just listening to an album of Traditional Irish Folk Music, but actually reviewing it too.
In my defence, The Dicey Rileys are 3 local lads hailing from the hillbilly town of Chester le Street, which from my home, is actually walkable on a sunny day and I do like to support local music…… even if it’s fiddley dee Irish music!
Apart from discovering that they recorded this in an analogue studio in their home town; what caught my eye was the list of pubs the trio have played in the last year since their formation. I know a few of them and, let’s be honest if they can survive playing places that Johnny and Waylon would have been scared to play in; they must be doing something right.
Perhaps they are saving up to release this CD (and download) as an LP one day; but I’m intrigued to see they’ve split the tracks into Side A and B on the back.
They start with a straight as an arrow version of the classic Whiskey In The Jar; and while it’s a million miles away from the Thin Lizzy single; it stands well against most others that I’ve heard (even in Dublin, Cork and Dublin!)
After that I don’t recognise anything else; which is obviously a good thing; as I’ve nothing to compare them against.
Although historically Irish, the Dicey Rileys sing in their native Durham accent which is a joy to behold; and adds extra spice to Rising On The Moon and the delightful I Know My Love; plus the delightful Black Velvet Band which also features some mesmerising mandolin too.
With that in mind, there are two scintillating instrumentals included too, The Lilting Banshee/Merrily Kiss the Quaker and Yeavering Bell/The Congress which really showcases this trios undoubted skills on their chosen instruments.
Yes, there are couple of twiddly-dee songs here; but their personal interpretations of You’ve Been a Friend To Me and I’m a Rover would surely have got them a contract with Transatlantic or Charisma Records way back when.
Then, there are two songs vying for the accolade RMHQ Favourite Song; how on earth can I pass by a song called Geordie? Well, even though it’s not actually about some super-human North Eastern football fan, it’s still a little bit beautiful in its own windswept way; but gets pipped at the post by the only song here that’s from the Dicey Riley’s themselves; The Ghost Ship.
This shows the band at their very best, with a traditional ‘leaving home’ tale featuring some luscious harmonies and intricate guitar and mandolin playing; plus a powerful acoustic bass accompaniment too.
Here in lies the problem many ‘local musicians’ face day in and day out all around the world; the public predominantly want to hear music they already know ……. hence ‘Lookey-Likey’ bands headlining my local 02 Academy 2 or 3 nights a week, and some can even fill big concert halls too…… leaving the likes of the Dicey Rileys to include a single track of their own alongside a dozen Irish Folk songs, when their own is by far the most interesting of them all.