Singer-Songwriter produces a great big sound on a very small budget
Like so many of his contempories, Jimmy Livingstone has spent a life time sofa surfing and doing a variety of menial jobs to make ends meet while he dreamt of making an album with his name on the cover.
Too often the end result isn’t worth the sweat and tears; but in this instance the record companies appear to have missed a diamond in the rough who has a timeless voice that will stop you in your tracks. ONE EYE OPEN, ONE EYE CLOSED is a self-financed package with a very professional looking cover, 10 self-written songs and a production that sounds like it is straight out of Muscle Shoals; and has all been created over a few years wherever and whenever he had enough spare cash to actually record his songs.
Getting By which opens the album is autobiographical and somehow upbeat as the singer tells us I’m doing what I do/and trying to do it naturally in a style that tips it’s hat to James Taylor and David Gates.
Livingstone doesn’t stand still, as he moves from genre to genre with Desert Song and Useless Man both being radio friendly Rockers and on The World Beneath My Feet everything including the kitchen sink plus some ‘Disco Trumpets’ are included on a track that screams 1980’s but the sentiment and sound is very much 2014.
The ‘Disco Trumpets’ make another appearance (albeit toned down) on the strongest song here – the kitchen sink drama,Black Country Girl; written about his first unrequited love and set in the Industrial Heartland of Great Britain.
ONE EYE OPEN, ONE EYE CLOSED ends with Blue Remembered Hills which could and should be the soundtrack to a Hollywood movie with Livingstone’s voice soaring and quivering in equal measure as the string section majestically sweep in and out as drums and cymbals crash while an electric guitar duals with some brilliant violin playing in the background.
The brass and string sections give the album a mighty big sound and definitely recall my hedonistic days of the 1980’s; and it’s only going to take a smidgen of good luck for a radio station or major record label to pick up on Jimmy Livingstone and after a lifetime in the shadows he will become an overnight success.