Good Old Fashioned AOR Songs From a Grown Up Songwriter.
Jimmy The Dog aka Jim Ferrie is probably better known within the British music industry as a Producer/Engineer more than as a musician; but to RMHQ Readers he’s a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Singer-Songwriter of some renown; certainly judging by the reaction to his last release RATTLESNAKE LOVE.
Thankfully Jim had prepared me in advance for the change in direction; no longer a Blues Rocker; this release is a lot more AOR/Singer-Songwriter, with the main instruments being acoustic guitars; which neatly allows the songs to be come to the fore.
Hopefully it will come back to me; but opening track Twister reminds me of someone/something from my teenage years in the 1970’s …….. breathy vocals, a tight and almost claustrophobic arrangement with a song using the ‘Twister’ as a fascinating metaphor for a relationship constantly ‘on the brink’. Although there is a tinge of Laurel Canyon to it; and Jim’s swirling organ in the background certainly gives it more of a London-centric feel.
After playing the album a couple of times I certainly feel it sits comfortably in the old Adult Orientated Rock section of any self-respecting Record Shop; as Ferrie covers several different idioms in nearly every song; starting with Toodle-Oo, he delves into Americana Territory; but that rolling piano sounds very ‘Pub Rock’ to my ears; and the song itself will mean a lot more to listeners over 40 than under.
Even the quaintly titled Summer Sunshine targets grown ups rather than teenyboppers, as does That’s What Heaven Means To Me, too ….. you have to have ‘lived a life’ to understand where the singer is coming from.
Not that I ever want you do this; but Ferrie’s way with a melody makes this whole album a perfect accompaniment for making dinner or doing the ironing; but if that’s you, you are missing a veritable treat from listening to the words and stories in his songs; especially Run, Bombardier’s Moon or the Olneyesque Citrus and Vine too.
It says a lot about Jimmy The Dog is the fact that he wrote every song, produced and engineered the final product and plays every instrument (apart from the fiddle on Citrus & Vine) yet at no stage does anything sound even close to being self-indulgent.
Without ‘over selling’ the contents to you; this album and its predecessor sit comfortably in my collection alongside David Olney, John Martyn and Rodney Crowell and not far away from Cohen and Waits; who all may or may not have casually influenced Skimming Stones (Down By The River) and Weather Vane too.
The finale The Odd Mad Shallow Man finds Ferrie going back to his Roots, with the most Folky song here; but the contemporary edge saves it from being something aimed at ‘finger in the ear’ Arran sweater wearers.
That brings me to my Favourite Song; the charming yet ‘deep’ Pick Me Up; which took me surprise the third or fourth time I played the album. I’d obviously heard it previously; but that afternoon it was something of a Eureka moment; and a case of ‘right place/right time‘ for the mood that I was in at that time; and the song somehow touched on my own relationship with my ever forgiving wife.
It probably goes without saying that this album won’t get a mention in any end of year Top 10’s never mind the Brits or NME Awards; but it’s well worth taking a punt on if you want to hear some good old fashioned grown up songs from another like-minded grown up songwriter.
Released December 1st 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY