Hear the Bang (Life & Music)
Big Legal Mess Records
A Long Lost Forerunner to What We Know as Americana
Denny Lile will be a new name to just about everyone reading this review; although a handful may know the song Fallin’ Out which was a hit for Waylon Jennings.
But; like many other songwriters Denny Lile originally harboured dreams of being a recording Star himself; releasing an album in 1972 that received some critical praise but disappeared without trace….until now.
A cursory peek at the other singer-songwriter albums released either side of 1972 shows you what Lile was up against; without a major label to promote.
Hear The Bang opens with the title track featuring Denny’s soft and melancholic voice over some sweetly layered guitars, a Dobro and some de-riguer swooping strings in the background. Even without the benefit of 40 years hindsight; it’s a track that would have impressed me had I heard it when I was 14 years old.
Lile cranks the tone up on Track #2 Oh Darlin’ which has a Buffalo Springfield ‘edge’ to it as Lile gets a little bit angry with his girl.
I’ve really enjoyed this album; as has Mrs. Magpie because of the ‘warm purity’ to his voice and the abundance of very personal, but never whiny songs on offer.
At times Lile sounds a bit like James Taylor set to a Country beat or John Denver after a bar fight; but most of all this would have made an excellent accompaniment to After the Goldrush and Harvest in the average students record collection at that time.
Although cleaned up for the digital age; the original production qualities are exceptional; not only showcasing Lile’s distinctive voice but his intricate guitar playing too.
Strangely enough there’s not a poor (or twee) song included here; and I’m staggered that Looks Like The Feelin’s Slowly Dyin’ never made it onto the radio (perhaps it was the title?). It’s a similar feeling of despair that Sugar Daddy and She’s More Than a Friend have remained hidden from public gaze for so long; but either or both would make a welcome addition to someone like Sturgill Simpson’s set-list.
By the final track Cause You’re Mine we even find Lile experimenting with some Eastern tuning on his guitar to give this beautiful love song a slightly psychedelic feel; but not in a Pink Floyd way.
Sadly Denny Lile died of alcoholism in 1995 but thanks to Big Legal Mess Records his memory will shine bright after this marvellous re-release.
# Included in the package is a DVD made by Denny Lile’s nephew Jer, chronicling his Uncles life via fascinating interviews friends, associates and his ex-wife; which sort of brings the story full circle.
Released 16th October 2015