Full Light Records
A Spine Tingling and Intimate Live Retrospective From an Unsung Hero.
If I’m totally honest with myself, then I don’t really like “Live” albums. Always struggled with the majority and have, maybe, a handful that I return to and play again.
Good job then that singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott falls into the chosen few. I’ve been lucky to have seen him live on a couple occasions and know how mesmerising and indeed compelling his shows can be.
This though is slightly different, recorded in South Central Colorado, last September, inside a converted former Catholic church near the border with New Mexico.
The old adobe building rescued and lovingly restored by Scott’s friend Mark Dudrow over the past couple of decades. Incredibly, there was no advanced marketing or advertising, simply “word of mouth”, which meant that only a couple of dozen people turned up to the village of Jaroso from nearby Taos or Santa Fe.
Something else worth noting, the gig was played not just as Unplugged but without the use of a PA System. Best described as back to basics, or even a fly on the wall, old-style approach, using a four-track recorder, one mic on whatever (mostly borrowed) instrument Darrell was playing, one mic on the vocals and a stereo pair for the assembly. Simples.
On the CD, there are 11 live, spine-tingling tracks from the session, seven are Scott originals plus four covers.
“Come on in, grab a chair, wherever you may” is how he welcomes the small crowd and leads straight into “There’s a Stone Around My Belly,” a beautiful mid-tempo, typical DS tune, immediately involving the audience getting them to sing-a-long with the repetitive “Hallelujah” chorus.
It all goes eerily quiet for the beguiling, acappello version of “No One Needs Angel” followed by “Life is Cheap” from his 1997 first album Aloha from Nashville, which again has most of the crowd singing with him.
The first of the covers provides a parochial, all join in, to Merles’ “(Have You Ever Been Down To) Colorado” followed by another original, “Fiddler Jones,’ which I first came across on the 2013 album Memories and Moments which Darrell originally recorded with his good friend Tim O’Brien, here though it’s just him with a Banjo for accompaniment, which only seems to emphasise the hook:
“And the people all know me wherever I go, There’s Fiddler Jones, there goes Fiddler Jones”.
Hoyt Axton’s cool “Evangelina” has the audience enthralled before Darrell treats them to the spell-binding history of “The Hummingbird,” from his 1999 sophomore album “Family Tree”; a song all about a Gibson Guitar and the misdemeanours of childhood.
The banjo returns for Malcolm Holcombe’s haunting “Who Carried You” followed by the hymn like “On Life’s Other Side;” which has the entire gathering enthusing through the chorus:
“On life’s other side we’ll wander and tarry no more,
On life’s other side we’ll carry the weight of this old world no more,
We’ll walk with each other with nothing to hide,
Every path of pure sunlight on life’s other side”.
You can hear the proverbial pin drop throughout Mickey Newbury’s “Saint Cecelia” before the finale again bows to the locals with a rousing rendition of “Colorado” which is originally off my favourite Darrell album, 2010’s “A Crooked Road”.
I can’t help feeling that the Playlist was wholly appropriate, given the venue and it’s history with the enthralled congregation and the protagonist in absolute unison.
But, wait just a minute, there’s an added bonus, in truth it’s less a ‘bonus’ and more like a Lottery winning experience!
Those music loving people from Proper Records have included a 12th. track; another live recording from Darrell’s days as a member of Robert Plants Band of Joy.
Not solo, but aided and abetted by the other members of the band …….. Patti Griffin, Buddy Miller & Mr. Plant himself on a stunning cover of Porter Wagoners 1955 hit “A Satisfied Mind”.
Check out the video on Social Media and witness the curly headed Midlander look across in awe at Darrell Scott’s superb, intense delivery.
In summary, the concept was a simple idea, transformed throughout into a magical, enchanting record of what must have been an awesome, historic event. I started by stating that I generally don’t like “Live Albums”, but; I kid you not; I absolutely love this one.
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com
Released on 6th. November 2020
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