Live In The UK (Agony Is Alright)
Alabama Astronaut Records
‘Even More Southern Gothic Alt.Country-Folk Fighting Punk after Midnight Behind a Dingy Bar.‘
As you know we have eclectic tastes here at RMHQ, and being the contrary buggers we are; it’s regularly albums that are deemed left of centre that we fall in love with and that’s why Abe Partridge is high up our list of ‘favourite discoveries’ and why we described COTTON FIELDS & BLOOD FOR DAYS as
This LIVE ALBUM was recorded on a 2019 UK Tour with songs coming from a variety of venues, but mostly Bush Hall in London Town; but neatly edited to sound like one full concert.
The album opens with David Ford introducing Partridge at the Bush Hall, who doesn’t so much sing as crackle a song called Alabama Blues over a starkly strummed acoustic ……. the audience is so reverential you can hear a pin drop as Partridge recants his biographical tale from the darkest pits of his heart.
Now, if you get past that song (Mrs. Magpie didn’t btw) you are in for a rare treat.
“Sing about what you know” is the advice most aspiring songwriters get; and Partridge does exactly that; and his introductory stories set the scenes much better than I ever could.
Track #2; No Teacher (Blues) recalls the time he formed a band and headed North ‘to Seattle to find the Ghost of Kurt Cobain; only to find hipsters with lumberjack beards!‘
The song goes on to (tongue in cheek) recount the other mistakes he made trying to make it big; with more detail than a chemical formula filling out three wonderful minutes.
Like all music; I love these songs for personal reasons; Partridge just ticks all of my boxes in the way the likes of Tom Paxton, Malcolm Holcombe, Slaid Cleaves and even Townes Van Zandt have over the years; his songs 403rd Freakout, Get Thee Behind Me and Undisclosed Location (in SW Asia Killing Floor Blues) are so raw and honest that your jaw will hang wide open when you hear them the first time; and only the truly brave would dare request them on radio shows.
I doubt Partridge will ever headline Glastonbury or Lollapalooza; but he’s likely to be play the tent at the back of the field where hundreds will pack in to hear White Trash Lipstick and Preaching The Blues and have their lives changed; while the other 100,000 who watch the headline act will only remember the light show!
I desperately don’t want to ‘over-sell’ Abe Partridge to you; and I know he will only appeal to a minority of music fans of any persuasion ……. but those who ‘get’ Colors (which is as a duet here with David Ford) and/or Our Babies Will Never Grow Up To Be Astronauts will travel many, many miles to see the troubadour sing them in a tiny hall or bar unfitting for the quality of material on offer; but that’s the perversity that inhabits music fans like no other.
Even though Partridge’s songs are often quite dark in tone; there’s also a warmness and pithiness to his stories which will make you smile as you travel alongside him down the dark tunnel that he takes you on; which in turn brings me to the song that has easily become my Favourite ….. Black Flag T-Shirt.
Partridge cuts through the crap and falsehoods that surround us every day; by talking about the people who wear ‘cool band t-shirts‘ that ‘say something about the wearer‘ but who obviously have never heard the music that Black Flag, Nirvana or (in the UK) Joy Division ….. we see them everyday; and Abe describes them and the feelings they leave with us like a poet.
I’m not sure where Abe Partridge fits into the grand pantheon of singer-songwriters; and I don’t even know anyone else who has even heard of him (I’ve asked!) but to those of us who are unbridled ‘fans’ he’s up there ….. check him out a) I urge you and b) I dare you!
Released 19th November 2021
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