B.J. Cole with Dave Eastoe
Cow Pie Records
No Blues On This Hawaiian Treat.
People like me, who have always been regarded as an anorak with OCD when it comes to the information you can glean from reading the credits on albums, will know who B.J. Cole is; and more importantly, where he sits in the hierarchy of UK Musicians.
For over half a century or so he has been Britain’s very own Mr. Pedal Steel Guitar.
From his early years in Enfield, England he was originally inspired by Hank B Marvin, then learning and swiftly changing from conventional guitar to steel guitar and then the exotic pedal steel where he quickly found a niche with his quirky and mystical sounds.
Initially for Albert Lee and then into the band Cochise who never received the rewards that there combined talent deserved.
Over the years he has expanded his talents and can be heard on hundreds of albums as a session guest, plus seven of his own studio releases.
Just check his impressive and elongated CV on Wikipedia.
So, at the end of this strangest of strange years he appears to have gone back to his roots and collaborated with magician & musician Dave Eastoe to deliver an enchanting new album.
Daydream Smile highlights the musical chemistry between friends BJ and Dave, enabling the sounds and cultures of the Hawaiian Islands to bring huge grins on to listeners faces, just when we need it most.
Of the nine tracks, there are six beautiful instrumentals and therefore, if my maths are correct, three with vocals.
Of these vocals “Down in Old Hawaii” stands out with the added female voice complementing the boys. The title track “Daydream Smile” wafts a gentle, warm breeze that takes you to paradise; whilst “Paniolo” casually shuffles along with some delightful yodelling.
Nevertheless, it’s the instrumentals that really capture the taste and smell as well as the sound of the Islands. Opening track “Slinky Hula Heaven” with it’s added vibes instantly transports you onto those volcanic rocks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Tipsy Doodle” wistfully glides you along a pure sandy beach enticing you to plodge your feet in the lapping waves and “Waltz of the Dolphins” had a quite mesmeric impact every time I played it.
“Blue Aloha” with BJ’s understated steel guitar and Dave subtle acoustic, it is such a basic and simple track that it’s easy for it to be overlooked, but there’s such a powerful and sweet harmony that maintains your interest all the way through.
Picking a favourite wasn’t easy, but when push came to shove I have elected for “Muscle Beach” with the oomph of the bass just edging out “Little Gem,” but on another day this could easily swing the other way.
If I’m honest this is not my normal sort of music, but the more I’ve played it, the more I have enjoyed it. The test of any new music in our house is whether or not it gets added onto any of the MP3 Playlists.
In this case the answer is undoubtedly yes, it goes into the Smooth Playlist ideal for quiet nights, in front of a log fire, with the television switched off.
Without further peroration, Daydream Smile provides an indelible paean, transcending an irenic atmosphere that leaders throughout this virus ridden world should all stop and listen to ASAP.
Jack Kidd: DJ Extraordinaire “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com
Released on 27th. November 2020
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