Heart-warming Country from the English South West
I was initially concerned that Bob Smith wouldn’t be able to follow last years’ 5 Star album THIS IS THE STORY but I needn’t have worried as 12 months later he’s produced yet another pearl that deserves a much wider audience than the folk clubs in the SW and Wales. I love the way Bob’s autobiographical songs like Dreaming’s Free and The Old Red and White draw the listener into his life and its minutiae with references to Number 6 cigarettes, riding in coal tubs in the pit yard, fighting on Friday nights after drinking a flagon of cheap cider and the feeling of rejection when a pretty girl refuses his offer of a dance at the local disco.
EVERYTHING CHANGE even includes a couple of genuine love songs – Gipsy Blood which is a bit of a rocker with a Hammond Organ wailing in the background and the even more impressive Just Outside of Heaven which has Bob’s bass voice sounding on the verge of tears in a song that could easily be from Cash or Kristofferson.
Sadly, like a lot of people I’m getting de-sensitised to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but Bob Smith manages to do the impossible by making me listen to an anti-war song over and over again. 10,000 Medals is written from the perspective of an angry elder sibling who would swap 10,000 Medals for the single medal and military cap in his bedside drawer to see his soldier brothers face once more. Honestly this song should be played on the radio each and every hour of each and every day until the Troops come home. The other ‘protest song’ on the album; Money is Their Darling is very well intentioned and probably goes down well when sung live, but on record comes across as a bit over simplistic and naïve in its criticism of big business.
EVERYTHING CHANGES ends with a third autobiographical song Coupe de Ville and one that a lot of male readers will identify with. As a youth the singer stares in amazement at a Blue Cadillac Coupe de Ville sitting among the Vauxhalls, Morris’s and Fords on the local second-hand car lot. The vision stays with him until he sees it again when he takes his son to a Classic Car Show…..lets just say Mrs Smith wouldn’t have been happy on their return home!