Single of the Day KEEVA The Kindest Thing

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The Kindest Thing

At least four or five days a week we get sent ‘singles’ from an array of artistes; but being the Cool Cats we are we dismiss 99% because we like proper grown up and fully fledged albums; or at the very least EP’s.
But we will throw that theory out of the bathroom window because sometime a song just catches our attention that we can’t dismiss so easily……just like when we were kids and listening to the radio.

Taken from her recent EP Four Sad Songs & a Ballad, which we received but shamefully never got around to listening too; this brittle song will not only break your heart; but restore your faith in humanity too.
KEEVA is half Irish and half Jordanian and brought up in both countries and London Town.
This is her beautiful and caustic response to a lover who cheated on her.
Oh…… I bet it doesn’t get played on the radio because of the chorus!


Los Pacaminos VIVA! Los Pacaminos LIVE!

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Los Pacaminos
VIVA! Los Pacaminos LIVE!
Recado Records.

The Most Authentic Tex-Mex Band This Side of the Atlantic!

Do I start with a History Lesson about how London Pub Rock in the early 1970’s begat not only Punk Rock, but what we now know as Alt. Country all around the world; or do I just pile straight into this fire cracker of an album?
Let’s go for the latter shall we? I don’t want to bore or antagonise you 
Los Pacaminos are often lazily billed as Superstar, Paul Young’s band but they are so much more than that; as if you check out the CV of each musician you will see they are something of a mini-Supergroup in their own rite and us this format to have a blast whenever they can get the band together.
VIVA! LIVE! Is their fourth album and follows on from the immaculately titled A Fist Full of Statins from earlier last year; and really does showcase the best Bar Band in NW London at their very best in a club in Harrogate, North Yorkshire which is frequently compared to the border town of Tijuana, Mexico.
The party; and that’s the best way to describe a Los Pacaminos concert starts with a shady rendition of Highway Patrol and the whoops from the audience are 100% genuine and similar to the sounds inside my head as the guitars squeal and hiss as whoever is singing rumbles like a storm brewing in the dessert.

That’s the beauty of Los Pacaminos, even though Paul Young was/is a bonafide Pop Star, he’s more than happy to share the spotlight with his band mates.
As you would expect, the song selection is quite exceptional with Little Sister, A Little Bit is Better Than Nada and He’ll Have To Go all getting dusted off and gussied up for a night on the town; and even old nuggets like Smoke That Cigarette, Wooly Bully, the dazzling Come a Little Bit Closer and a favourite of Mama Magpie Edie, Wooly Bully somehow sound as fresh as the day they were recorded over half a century ago by their originators.
There’s even a Guest Spot from Honouree Pacamino, Senor Chris Difford who takes the lead on (the remixed) Tex Me I’m Yours which fits in like guacamole on a taco; and why no one thought of adding a slide and pedal-steel guitar to the original I will never know!
There are also a couple of originals in here too alongside the Classics; but things move along so quickly and there aren’t really any song intros; and the record cover misses these things out completely but I didn’t recognise Poor Boys or Girl From Tennessee but both are rip-roaring stonkers and quickly had me tapping my toes, swaying my hips and even miming along with their choruses; even though I’d never heard them before.
And it’s the same with both songs that became RMHQ Favourites after only two sittings; both Battered And Boozed and Our Favourite Things; could easily have been something the Blasters or Fabulous Thunderbirds would have played to a smoky and packed cantina somewhere sleazy and hot, ‘back in the day’……. Perhaps they did; and if they did I bet it was a great night there too!
In many ways there’s ‘nothing new’ here; but that misses the point completely this is an album and indeed audience paying homage to a cool genre of music (Tex Mex/Tejano) that has been airbrushed from the Americana History books in recent years; but still makes for a cracking good night of happy songs, dance tunes, love songs, break up songs and especially drinking songs when done as well as this.

Released November 2nd 2018



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Cartoon Violence
Megalith Records

A Top Quality Two Tone Tonic For Lovers and Dancers Alike.

On the day after I received this from Bon Viveur, man about town and editor of the influential Ska Fanzine DO THE DOG Kev Flowerdew, a mate called me to say he’d been to see two great bands the night before in town; and guess what……one of them was only bloody Cartoon Violence!
Hey ho.
As is his won’t Kev told me bugger all about the band in his accompanying note, but their Facebook page lets us know that these Krazy Kids come from Welsh Wales, don’t appear to have surnames and have evolved from the amazing 3 Minute Warning and Smoke Like a Fish with a Toaster on drums. ….. but hey; it’s all about the music, isn’t it?
Yay Yay and thrice YAY! Opening track Insincere is a fabulous and frantic bittersweet love song, revolving around some mighty fine keyboard playing from Chuzz who also sings as if his life depends on it!
Quite an attention-grabbing start, it has to be said.
As I’m prone to do, a quick scan of the song titles showed what a wicked sense of humour the band have; with Social Animal being a bit of a rye look at the modern world and all its internet bound pitfalls; when just talking to each other is easier and cheaper. Much Ado About Nothing is even cooler than the title would suggest with Sash (a lady) sounding fabulouso as the band belt the living daylights out of their instruments in the background; and it has to be said; Cartoon Violence aren’t afraid of a melody or a catchy chorus too.
Somewhere in my collection I have a great version of a song called Black Sheep by one of the genres originators; but this song is their very own and Jason Childs strong songwriting proves that Ska can still punch a hole in your heart when it wants to; and he does it again with the fast and furious Out With The Old and Careful too…… don’t just dance…..LISTEN!
It’s actually a pleasant surprise these days to say that Cartoon Violence to some degree are re-treading the original Two Tone path, with nods to not just Jerry Dammers era Specials but also the Bodysnatchers and even Madness in the way they hide a kitchen sink opera behind a catchy tune; which brings me to the RMHQ Favourite Song here; Annie; which had it been released in 1980 would have been a Top 20 hit; but sadly this amazing song is destined never to be played on National Radio, which makes me very, very sad indeed.
There’s another song that could and should have also been a massive Hit and that’s the rip-roaring Serpico which had me not only skanking around the living–room but even shuffling in the driving seat of my car as it boomed from both stereos!
While I love most of the music I play and review, but nothing beats some quality up-tempo Ska as a way to shake the cobwebs off after a crap day at work and judging by this, their third album……. Cartoon Violence really are TOP QUALITY.

Released October 28th 2018






Epic, Brooding and Emotional Americana From Canada.

At last! Our friends from Toronto, LeBarons have finally finished their debut full length album and are releasing it out into the wild, after nurturing, developing and growing the songs for well over two years now.
Let’s not dwell on the mishap which meant RMHQ got missed off the original mail-out; because “all good things come to he who waits” or some nonsense like that.
We still play their phenomenal EP ALLISTON on an irregular basis in the office; so anything new has to be exciting, doesn’t it?
Will it be different?
Will it be the same?
Will it be better?
Phew……………opener Long Highway far exceeds my fanboy expectations; as an almost military beat from the bass and drums add to the atmospheric production on a wonderful ‘road song’ worthy of The Travelling Wilburys or Little Feat if they’d come from Nashville.
BOOM! The next song Bad News wasn’t what I was expecting at all; it’s as if there was a power surge in the studio as every instrument sounds 5 x faster, louder and tighter as Chris MacDonald opines his bad luck in life AND love as the band support him with the most muscular harmonies I’ve ever heard in my life; and I only wish that this had closed the album as I’m sure it will be ‘that sort of song’ when played live….with the audience shouting along with the glorious choruses.
Now I’ve got my head around them; the songs are indeed ‘fuller’ and ‘more seasoned’ than on the debut; but that’s to be expects as these crazy cats have spent as much time on the road as in the studio in the interim.
While the band is so much more than just Chris MacDonald and a bunch of mates; his songwriting has somehow managed to move on leaps and bounds, with Quiet and Waste which follows it; both having a kind of coiled spring ambience to them…… leaving you on tenterhooks as both songs play out and build to a brain penetrating climax.
To some degree LeBarons have reined back their quintessential Canadianness here; going for a more earthy transient sound that will suit listening tastes all across the English speaking world (and beyond hopefully!). Until It Goes is an Alt. Country song, but only in as much as it really is a cool Country song with a pneumatic rhythm section and more Twang from the guitars than you’ll hear in a whole weekend in the Horseshoe Lounge.
Then there is the Border Land Country of Power Lines which somehow sits perfectly comfortably straight after the almost ‘experimental’ title track SUMMER OF DEATH, which leads us down a dark and dangerous path into Gothic Canadiacana, if such a thing exists!
I haven’t really had a lot of time to pore over ever song I intimate detail; but a couple of songs on a rather exceptional record really do stand out; the haunting Born in ’76 which sounds like LeBarons are singing and playing behind a tattered velvet curtain in a seedy nightclub as the bar staff clean up around them.
Then there is the potent Brand New Sound which sounds like something concocted after a long night driving along the back roads as a storm howls around and only Bruce and The Clash on the car stereo. As the title suggests it is a brand new sound for LeBarons and in its own way is the lynch pin for everything else here; and for that reason is the RMHQ Favourite Track, by a country mile.
The lyrics sound as if they are both introspective and observational in equal measures; perhaps they are and perhaps they aren’t; but first and foremost this is an album is simply great to listen to under any and all circumstances plus, it has the hallmarks of being a Game Changer for my favourite band from Toronto.

Released November 2nd 2018



Martin Stephenson & The Daintees GLADSOME, HUMOUR & BLUE

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Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Barbaraville Records

The Bard of Geordieland Still Sounds Fresh and Thought-Provoking After 30 Years.

If you don’t already know the work of Martin George Stephenson you should be damn near ashamed to call yourself a music fan!
OOPS! Did I just say that out loud? Well; if I did it’s because that’s how I feel about the man and his music.
I once described the second most famous musician to come from Washington as having ‘Musical Tourette’s’ such is the way he keeps releasing albums; and the standard is always exceptionally high too, by the way; which in a roundabout way bring us to this his glorious reworking of his second ever album from 1988 and (bizarrely) the only one to chart in the Top 40….. who knew?
The almost legendary Comes A Time opens events like a an exhausted battle-cry; originally for the disaffected youth of the late Eighties; but one that still resonates today for those very same people, who are now in their fifties but with similar worries and more.
Another crowd favourite that has stood the test of time Slaughterman follows; and yet again Martin’s clever way with words and metaphors sound even more apt today; as we are all older, wiser and probably a lot more cynical; nodding our heads as he softly growls –
“Like some hot dog seller sitting in a stand,
You’ve a nerve to criticize while you sit inside your cage,
Like some Turkey paying homage to the slaughter man”.
Thirty years on; surely this is as apt a description of the British public facing an unsure future after Brexit; or even the world sitting waiting to see what Trump and/or Putin will do next?
As someone who couldn’t afford to buy the original LP; the next few songs are brand new to me and each one shows what an insightful and staggeringly intelligent songwriter he was at such a young age; but the new treatments also highlight what great musicians Stephenson MG, Steel, Mordey and Stephenson K. have all evolved into; even though the most famous Daintees formation never actually played on the original! (Apart from Stephenson MG of course).
The Wait finds Martin at his Folksiest; and the romantic waltz like I Can See now revolves around Chris Mordey’s hypnotic bass playing and Kate’s oh so deceptively clever drumming.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Martin play live and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Even The Night before; and that just goes to show what an amazing back catalogue he has; if such a diamond can remain in his musical shadows until now.
Oh Lordy, Lord…… I did know Goodbye John before but never in this format. Martin tells the sad story in his charming native tongue; half talking and half singing as John Steel sets your hair on edge with his Hank B Marvinesque guitar playing in the background. #SHIVER
I thought choosing a Favourite Track would have proved much easier than it actually has been; as the new warn and occasionally spine tingling production on a favourite for 30 years Wholly Humble Heart was a shoe-in surely, and as for Me & Matthew, it still brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it (and that’s a lot), and then there’s Nancy of course which always reminds me of…… never mind, my heart beat a little bit faster when I played this last week is all you need to know!
No sirree; I’m going to go for one of the songs that are brand new to me; possibly one of the two songs that tenuously deal with Religion; the delicate love song I Pray or Old Church which is another beauty that has been kept hidden from me for 30 years; and when you hear it you won’t believe that he was only 24 when he wrote these very deep lyrics which (again) sound like they could have been written last month!
But……cue drum roll from Kate……. The RMHQ Favourite Song here is…… the class, hard-hitting, dancetastic and also the nearest thing to seeing Martin G Stephenson in concert you will ever hear from a studio album; Get, Get Gone which closes the album and comfortably straddles the Folk-Rock and Americana spheres that he has unknowingly introduced several generations too without knowing it!
Whoever you are and whatever music you like, there is something here to make you think about, smile at or just plainly enjoy!

Released November 23rd 2018


BLUE MUSE Music Maker Foundation
Big Legal Mess Records

Keeping The Blues AND It’s Musicians Alive!

This is an interesting/fascinating/wonderful idea; an idea of eclectic and often ‘rare’ Blues songs AND a photography book AND a graphic novel all coming out to raise much needed funds for …………..
“Music Maker Relief Foundation – the non-profit organization that helps traditional, southern musicians who live in poverty and has been featured on PBS News Hour, CBS News, and NPR.

I’ve got a copy of the compilation album BLUE MUSE celebrating its 25th anniversary that will be released on February 1st 2019, but not had a chance to listen to it all yet never mind review it……but until then here’s the PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED Eric Clapton track MISSISSIPPI BOUND.

This is why you should pre-order your copy NOW……

“The album features contributions from Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and 17-time GRAMMY winner Eric Clapton (in a previously unreleased track), Blues Hall of Famer, two-time GRAMMY winner, and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner Taj Mahal and GRAMMY-winner founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops Dom Flemons.
In keeping with Music Maker’s mission to preserve the musical traditional of the south by supporting the musicians who make it, the album spans a range of living southern music culture and fans will hear blues, folk, songster, jump blues, soul, Appalachian, garage blues, and gospel musics here. The 21-track set features liner notes by Vogue and Guardian writer Rebecca Bengal.”

“‘Blue Muse’ accompanies a photography book of the same name by Tim Duffy coming out February 25 on UNC press in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art; and an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art premiering April 25.”

“Music Maker has supported over 400 artists over the course of its 25-year history.”

01) La Collegiale – The Grotto Sessions
02) Spike Driver Blues – Taj Mahal
03) Old Black Buck – Captain Luke
04) Route 66 – Eddie Tigner
05) I Got The Blues – Alabama Slim
06) Age Don’t Mean A Thing – Robert Finley
07) Polly Put The Kettle On – Dom Flemons
08) Hambone – John Dee Holeman
09) Snap Your Fingers – Algia Mae Hinton
10) I am the Lightning – Willie Farmer
11) D.O.C. Man – Dave McGrew
12) Sweet Valentine – Martha Spencer & Kelley Breiding
13) I Wanna Boogie – Boot Hanks w/ Dom Flemons
14) Mississippi Blues – Eric Clapton w/ Tim Duffy
15) Landlord Blues – Guitar Gabriel
16) Widow Woman – Drink Small
17) Cabbage Man – Sam Frazier, Jr.
18) Sing It Louder – Cary Morin
19) Loose Diamonds – Ironing Board Sam
20) I Know I’ve Been Changed – The Branchettes
21) Something Within Me – Theotis Taylor

For more information on Music Maker Relief Foundation, please contact Nick Loss-Eaton at or 718.541.1130 or Cornelius Lewis at 919.643.2456.

Paul Kelly NATURE

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Paul Kelly
EMI Australia

Engrossing and Totally Captivating Concept Album (of sorts).

Only a couple of years ago I’d never heard of Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly; but after immersing myself in his last three releases and now NATURE I can fully understand why he has ‘legendary’ status in his home land; and is a Multi-Award winner too.
This album is a bit of left of centre challenge for everyone concerned; including his fans, as it revolves around a number of poems that Kelly has set to music, which could all have gone horribly wrong in lesser hands.
Fear not; as Kelly’s almost soft-rock treatment of Dylan Thomas’s And Death Shall Have No Dominion sounds uncannily like Bob Dylan (if His Bobness actually had a warmth and depth to his singing!) and sets the tone for a startling album that lies ahead.
The electric guitars stay around for Kelly’s own For The One I Love, which has a ‘woo-hoo’ chorus and some delectable harmonies from the female backing singers.
The balance of songs/poems is exceptional as Kelly explores ‘NATURE’ in all its glory and from many different viewpoints.
Kelly’s adaptation of Walt Whitman’s With Animals has a dark, almost Native American melody to it which gives it a deep and perhaps even hypnotic effect which deserves utmost reverence when listening.
While the overall effect is totally engrossing; I was surprised to discover how short each individual track is; with only the glorious Bound To Follow coming in at over four minutes long; and that’s not even noticeable as every single song here bleeds into the next one to create something of (dare I say it?) …….. a Folk-Rock Opera; but without the self-centredness normally associated with such productions.
As a non-musician I’m never failed to be impressed when someone like Paul Kelly can find a work like Phillip Larkin’s The Trees which bored me rigid 45 years ago when I was at school; and have the imagination to turn it into a beautiful and engrossing multi-layered song that we have here!
It’s a similar story with Mushrooms, a Sylvia Plath poem which would normally be associated with fragile young things that sit poring over the words in a darkened room; but here I was left open mouthed at the beauty of the words and the gently introspective way Kelly and Friends wrap them up in delicate musical notes.
Just like the album the concept of NATURE in real life, is made up of many and varied particles and just when you think it’s a beautiful ‘thing’ along comes a prickly thorn to test your resolve; and here it’s A Bastard Like Me (for Charlie Perkins); which takes us on a dangerous road trip that we never expected; but it’s harshness (based on a real life story) helps us appreciate the beauty that surrounds it and us in life and on record.
Selecting a single song as a ‘Favourite’ is not really fair as Kelly has created a Masterwork that deserves and needs to be heard as a complete ‘piece’ (and if I’m not mistaken from the production; is also designed for 180 gram vinyl; but I could be wrong.) but, as is my won’t I will point you towards Paul Kelly’s The River Song, which features the Acacia String Quartet, a piano and a double bass with Kelly’s rich Australian voice never sounding better or indeed more expressive.
While the subject matter of the poems/songs here can be dark at time; ‘NATURE’ isn’t always about ‘smelling the rose, is it? And poetry itself can be quite deep and inaccessible at times; but Paul Kelly has managed to pull off a master stroke here; by not making a ‘preachy’ album; but one that is beautiful and engrossing; with numerous hidden messages that just might seep into tired old subconscious’s like mine.

Released October 12th 2018




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JP Harris
Free Dirt Records

 Authentic Bar-Room Country For a Cold Autumn Night.

Apologies to everyone concerned, as this review is now over four weeks late…… not because I didn’t like the album; far from it….but I’d somehow neglected to include it on my October spreadsheet!
Basically this was a regular travelling companion in the car during September; then gradually faded away until Saturday when opening track JP’s Florida Blues #1 blasted out of the speakers via my I-Phone and I was transported back to the hot and sultry days of Summer (pretending I was driving across the Florida/Georgia line rather than through industrial Tyne and Wear!).
Man…. Is this song a belter; echoes of classic Chuck Berry, Creedence and Bob Seger whizz through your brain as JP and the guys relive their younger days touring the back road dives of their collective youth in a way that actually makes it sound sexy and romantic!
The mood slows down to a more melodic pace for Lady In The Spotlight, and Harris’s world weary and worn down voice articulately tells a story that could perhaps have been included in A Star is Born to describe the way the Lady GaGa character was groomed by her sleazy manager.
While it’s becoming a staple in Country Music these days; JP really does capture the spirit of a man who has been far too dependent on the demon alcohol in the almost chirpy Why I Quit Drinking, finding solace in the minutiae of finally remembering what he did and where he did it the previous night.
I’ve heard a few dull songs on the subject; but JP’s song is very listenable and never preachy.
The album balance is fun, with the punchy Hard Road breathing fresh life into proceedings in the middle then ending with the rip-roaring Country Rocker Jimmy’s Dead and Gone; but in-between Harris explores the mellower and introspective edgy side of Country Music with wily and knowing songs like Long Ways Back and the heart-breaking Runaway which features Miss Kristina Murray on ghostly harmonies and Leroy Powell making his pedal-steel sound like tears stinging a cheek.
Even without the actual song being as good as it is, the title of the album Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing is as good a Country album title as I’ve ever heard; and Harris’s sharply observed and gut wrenching words really do it justice.
There’s a second drinking song here; and in my humble opinion I Only Drink Alone nicely juxtaposes Why I Quit Drinking, as it takes all the fun out of getting drunk as Harris alongside Mark Sloan on the most melancholy piano you will hear all year, take us deep into George Jones territory and don’t let us leave until the tears are dry; and for that reason it takes the prize of RMHQ Favourite Track with ease.
When I watch the CMA’S or even highlights from C2C I’m often confused as to what constitutes Country Music anymore; and perhaps ‘everything’ is Country Music these days; but for me JP Harris embodies what I want from it; great well written and authentic songs that are sung by a man who has lived every word (which is what he sounds like!) and a Bigsby on his guitar coupled to a scorching pedal-steel don’t go amiss either!

Released October 5th 2018.



Laurie Jane & The 45’s ELIXIR OF SARA MARTIN

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Laurie Jane & The 45’s
Down In The Alley

Taking Some Old-School Louisville Blues Back To The Future

Where to start with this captivating new album of reinvigorated 1920’s style Blues songs?
Laurie Jane & The 45’s have been playing variations of Blues music in and around Louisville, Kentucky for longer than their cherubic young looks would have you believe and have decided to reignite the faded memory of Sara Martin, who in an era best remembered for Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith actually recorded a record on Okeh long before either of those legends went into a studio and then went on to write and record a further 100 tracks; some of which were recorded by Fats Waller and Sylvester Weaver. Yet I and I guess you have never heard of her.
That’s all about to change when you hear belters like opening track Late Last Night, where Laurie Jane takes Sara’s words and reinvents them as a sizzling 1950’s meets the 21st Century Rockin’ Boogie, with gutsy guitars and a saxophone that tries to blow the roof off.
Not every song here is from Sara Martin’s pen, but they are all songs she recorded and boy oh boy does this band of reprobates do her memory proud on the slow and seedy My Man Blues, but it’s the still crackling around the edges authentic versions of Strange Loving Blues and the raw Pleading Blues that make this album really extra special; and show the world what an expressive voice Laurie Jane herself has.
As long as I live I will never comprehend how a contemporary musician can hear an original 1920’s or earlier recording and have the imagination to dust them down, pick them apart at the seams and then put them back together to sound as if they’d been written in the last month, such is the treatment given to My Man Blues.
Arguably my introduction to such witchcraft was hearing Cream do Crossroads back in 1971; and I feel suitably impressed hearing these cats re-invent WC Handy’s Joe Turner Blues and another Sara Martin song, I’m Gonna Be a Lovin’ Old Soul and make them sit comfortably alongside any of the modern Blues songs I receive most weeks.
Although she doesn’t actually sound like her; Laurie Jane has the same swagger and self-confidence in her voice that I remember from Dame Maggie Bell many decades ago; on Can’t Find Nobody To Do What My Daddy Do and more especially the swinging Sugar Blues.
To some degree this could have been an LP of two very separate half’s as there is an appealing mix of Blues Rockers sitting side by side with richly authentic acoustic cuts, with ‘specially added crackles and pops; and it is one of those when Laurie Jane Duggins takes us on a super-cool midnight stroll with Sugar Blues, from the pen of Clarence Williams and now featuring some delightful electric guitar solos from Screamin’ John Hawkins alongside the piano of Cort Duggins and some truly spine tingling trumpet from guest Eric Snyder.
Everything about ELIXIR OF SARA MARTIN, from the cover artwork through the songs themselves and the memories they evoke is pure class from start to finish; and now I’d love to hear Laurie Jane & The 45’s pull out all the stops on an album of their own songs.

Released October 13th 2018


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Marianne Faithfull
Panta Rei/BMG

Reflections On a Theme As Time Goes By.

What? You say this is Marianne Faithfull’s 21st album…….twenty one??? But I thought she was just a One Hit Wonder from the days when she was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend?
Let’s not the myth get in the way of facts, should we? So, let’s forget the past and concentrate on the present as I tell you about another album that will knock you sideways and if you give it the chance could become the soundtrack to your dotage.
Apart from some intrigue and being impressed with the packaging of this ‘Deluxe Edition’ I had absolutely no preconceptions when the luscious Misunderstanding first flowed from the living room speakers and Madame Faithfull’s mournful and flawed voice filled the room with a dark autobiographical tale that could be about my own sorrowful life, as much as it is hers. If I started quoting any of the magnificent verses here I’d end up writing out the whole song!
The co-write with Nick Cave, The Gypsy Faerie Queen follows and ‘epic’ is the only way I can describe this amazing Folk Song, that I wouldn’t have given the time of day to five years ago; but while it has echoes of both William Shakespeare AND Fairport Convention it somehow makes complete sense today; albeit in an incredibly abstract way.
Even without knowing Ms Faithfull has lived in Paris for many years now, there is a ragged and Romantic Gothic beauty to many of the songs here, that I associate with the City of Lovers.
Thoughts of Edith Piaf sprang to mind when I hear In My Own Particular Way, Don’t Go with Ed Harcourt’s meticulous piano playing and some delightful alto-flute too; and of course the the brittle and beautiful No Moon in Paris which had me looking out of the window at the night sky yesterday, as I played it.
A poet at heart, Marianne alongside Mark Lanegan take on Right Wing terrorists with a righteous venom in They Come At Night; and the amazing production and musicianship behind her cracked and angry voice make for a heart stopping 3 minutes and forty seconds that feel like a whole lifetime.
There’s a fascinating cover of It’s All Over Now Baby Blue which takes on a whole new sensory overload as Marianne uses Dylan’s words to look back on her long and eventful life from her Parisienne apartment.
Loneliest Person is, I presumed a brand new song written especially for Madam Faithfull; but it’s actually a total reinvention of a Pretty Things song from 1968’s Saucer Full of Sorrow and the mournful way our favourite Diva delivers the words over a dark and brooding arrangement take it into the territory I normally associate with my Mother’s best-loved singer Judy Garland in her latter days.
I nervously smiled the first time I heard this adaptation of As Tears Go By; the song normally associated with Marianne, but it turns out to be an act of genius as while the musical arrangement isn’t a million miles away from the original; hearing the words now come from the lips of a lady who has lived an amazing life, and sings….
“Now is the evening of the day/I sit and watch the children play/Smiling faces I can see/But not for me/I sit and watch as tears go by.”
Mick and Keith’s words finally make complete sense, and for that reason this is easily my Favourite Song on this album; and possibly of the next 10 years.
Before I close proceedings; I have to give a big RMHQ hug to Ed Harcourt who has co-written most of the songs here and has somehow, alongside Marianne managed draw on the artiste’s life, memories and thoughts to create minor a bunch of austere and profound masterpieces that will not just touch our hearts but stir them too.

#If I have one criticism here; even though the cover photograph is quite beautiful and even eye catching; I think there was a glorious opportunity to recreate the iconic Gererd Mankowitz photographs in the Salisbury pub from 1964 as this album’s cover.
Just a thought.

“We will always have Paris.” Rick Blane.

Released November 2nd 2018