I loved Durham’s previous offering, The Shovel v The Howling Bones so much, that when I handled this CD my hands began trembling; then I thought how could he possibly follow such a brilliant album….but….fear not….he has; and possibly even bettered it!
With baited breath I pressed ‘play’ and sat back in nervous anticipation then grinned with relief as a Native American – Delta Blues fusion footstomper oozed out of my speakers like wild mountain honey for the ears; and Ballad of a Prodigal Son certainly follows on from where SHOVEL v The HOWLING left off and sets the tone for the darkest, sexiest Blues album you’ll here this year.
Rise in The River sounds like classic New Orleans Dr. John; but dirtier and even more authentic; which is as good a description of Durham’s ‘sound’ as I can muster.
Only the spectacular production by George Reiff lets you know that these timeless songs were recorded in the 21st Century as the stories and lyrics owe more to Son House (who gets a name check), Leadbelly and Robert Johnson than any modern songwriters I can think of.
If you like Tom Waits and/or Nick Cave you are going to love songs like the murder ballad Annie Departee and Strike Us Down which will scare the Bejezus out of you!
On Keep On, Allie Durham strays into fairly simplistic singer-songwriter territory, but the subject matter and the singers world weary voice coupled to a drum beat that sounds like a broken heart means the song becomes extra-ordinary.
If one song sums up the album it will be Exodus Waltz which sounds like he is howling at the moon while the Pogues and the Charlie Daniels Band are having a battle of the bands in the background (Durham performs all of this solo when in concert!).
As always I have a favourite track and, boy does the other Murder Ballad Beautifully Sewn/Violently Torn cover all of my bases; with the subject of incest and rape handled quite delicately in a very angry song Durham and drummer Rick Richards kick up a racket that even the Stones would have been proud of in the mid 70’s.
Eventually this beautifully packaged album has to come to an end and, in Mama Durham produces a love song for his Mother (and Mothers everywhere) that is so full of grace, regret, joy and devotion that I defy any one of us not to get misty eyed when they hear it the first time.
There you have it; Lincoln Durham’s EXODUS OF THE DEEMED UNRIGHTEOUS. It won’t be for everyone, but if you are reading this review I can only presume you have an open mind, so I urge you to give it a try – it might just change your life.
#Released January 13th 2014
DROOG RECORDS 00EOTDU-12