World Weary and Grizzled British Country Rock to Stir The Soul.
All I seem to take from the accompanying Press Release is that The Blue Highways are probably British, were formed in 2018 and Bob Harris likes them. But perhaps that’s all we need to know, as the music they create certainly ‘does the talking’ for them. The powerful opening track He Works kick-starts the EP like pouring petrol on a BBQ! This tale of guy who works hard day in and day out without complaint suddenly has his world turned upside down; giving him the opportunity to finally live the life he daydreams about ……. but does he take it? All in all He Works is a very clever and intelligent song masquerading as a 4 to the floor Country Rocker with additional horn section. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this song came from the Southern States and not Southern England! Callum Leary’s world weary and grizzled vocals and a muscular rhythm somehow lift the next song, the almost Shakespearean Blood Off Your Hands into Black Crowes territory, if I’m not mistaken. Next out of the traps, Matter of Love buzzes along like it’s tail is on fire, and this enigmatic and twisted Love Song manages to question the whole concept of love, if you listen carefully …….. but even if I’m wrong, it has a very catchy chorus anyways. With British Country and UK Americana in the ascendancy today, but judging by those first three songs The Blue Highways have decided to quite rightly, ‘out rock’ every one else on the scene; but they also throw a splendid ‘curve ball’ with the final track Have You Seen My Baby, which is more of an acoustic heartbreaker; and even without the aid of the splendid Henry Senior Jr. from Danny and the Champs supplying some truly maudlin pedal-steel would more than likely have been my Favourite Song by a Country Mile. From their profile pictures The Blue Highways are unfeasibly young to have created such a mature and well crafted songs; but they have and this EP is certainly well worth hunting down regardless of which side of the Atlantic you live on.
Even though I have a couple of friends who will regularly travel hundreds of miles to see Eilen Jewell on her regular visits to the UK, she has somehow passed me by and remains a mystery to me. I can’t think why. It’s just one of those things. So, I was quite excited when I received this, her 8th album, GYPSY . MMMmmmm ……. I instantly liked opening track Crawl, a punchy and bouncy Country Rocker of old, graced by a shimmering fiddle from Katrina Nicholayeff and some excellent guitar interplay from Jerry Miller and Eilen herself. The pace immediatly drops to a lazy afternoon stroll for Track #2 Miles to Go; and therein lies the beauty of this album and I’m assured, Eilen Jewell herself …….. she can turn her hand and mind to anything in the Americana gamut and put her own distinctive stamp on it. It’s easy to hear the apprenticeship which started with her busking on the streets of Santa Fe and ultimately touring the world, coming to fruition with clever, intelligent and always accessible songs like the dark and brooding Working Hard For Your Love juxtaposed with the poignantly political 79 Cents (The Meow Song); which should be on every school curriculum across the USA; and the ethereal title track Gypsy, all of which are disparately different but come together to create a series of mood swings that will all end with you smiling, although tears will well in your eyes. When it comes to choosing a Favourite Song I really am spoiled for choice; there’s the straight up Classic Country of These Blues and You Cared Enough to Lie, which if I didn’t know any better must surely have been a hit for Patsy Cline; but is actually a Pinto Bennett song that Eilen very much brings to life. Another contender is Fear, which closes the record and straddled Folk, Alt. and Country in the way I normally associate with Ms Nanci Griffith; but I’m going for HARD TIMES, a folk anthem that follows in the footsteps of many songs of a similar title; and in 2019 I’d have hoped such words and sentiments would have been banished to the history books……. but instead of invoking the spirits of Woody Guthrie and Steinbeck; Eilen Jewell is singing about what she sees daily from her window. A sad indictment of our times; but a beautiful song none the less. This album has been quite a journey for me; and I could see from the first play why so many people are devoted fans, yet she remains unknown to me and millions of others ……. let’s put that right now; go buy this album!
A Comprehensive Collection of Sam Baker’s Songs, Played Live With No Safety Net.
I can’t remember exactly when I ‘got into’ Sam Baker. It was a while ago and probably one of his regular shows at the Jumpin’ Hot Club in Newcastle, I don’t think it was via an album. But now, like so many others I’m a bonafide acolyte of several years standing, poring over his every word and note. Mrs. Magpie can’t stand him! Right from the songs on his 2004 debut album Mercy, Sam deliberately sets out to challenge the listener in many ways, not least emotionally, and if you come out the other end unscathed you can count yourself a ‘fan’. While I can’t think of one, I’m still surprised that is Sam Baker’s first ever Live Album; especially as his concerts are invariably memorable in many, many ways; and that is the case with this raw and exciting performance which finds Baker completely alone on stage in Buffalo NY in July 2018 with just his guitar, harmonica and a wood board to click the timings on as his safety net . In fairness Baker could have opened the concert with just about any of songs and it would have been ‘nearly perfect’ so the biting lyrics that make up Boxes fits the bill perfectly. What follows is a comprehensive collection of songs from throughout the songwriter’s relatively short career; and while the studio versions may not fit together quite so appealingly, stripped back to bone and sinew Baker draws you into songs that were written over 10 years apart like Waves and the magnificent Same Kind of Blue sound like he’s somehow plucked them both from the ether earlier in the day and is performing them for the first ever time. In this particular format Sam Baker occasionally sounds like he must have been a Beat Poet in an earlier life, as he makes no attempt to ‘sing’ in the traditional manner; but that just makes Angel Hair and Broken Fingers even more intensely beautiful and articulate than ever. With so many great songs to choose from across his career to fit in I can understand why they’ve had to edit out most of the applause and all of the ‘stories behind the songs’ which is a bit of a loss as they are integral to any Sam Baker show ……. would a Double Album have killed you? Hey ho, that’s only a tiny criticism; as what is here has made choosing virtually impossible as each and every one could and should be my Favourite Track; how can I not choose Mennonite? Come on ……. Odessa? But, it’s a song for our times! Sorry, but I’m going for a song that is an essential inclusion in any Baker gig; Iron from that very first album Mercy and is sadly still as relevent today as it was way back then. I can’t think of a better way to start your own discovery of Sam Baker and his songs than this album; if you come out the other end unscathed you are going to absolutely love his studio albums!
With a curated festival, which Cambridge now is, the attraction for many punters lies in the choices of the curator – in 2018, Rhiannon Giddens cast a strong Americana (for want of a better word) flavour over Cambridge. This year, Nick Mulvey has asserted a more eclectic world music influence, but there were still nuggets of Americana-ish joy to be had.
Opening Stage 2 on Thursday and Stage 1 later in the festival, Ben Caplan gave us a rowdy, carnie-esque set of tunes that threw up thoughts of a young, fiery Tom Waits. In a conversation with Ben he professed his admiration for TW and it was plain to see – there was more to Ben Caplan than mere homage though and his lively sets covered elements of folk and Gogol Bordello-ish gypsy music. Very entertaining – and he had yellow maracas on stage too…
The Rails also occupied a prime spot on Thursday. The new album “Cancel the Sun” sees them moving into rock star territory and this came over visually and sonically in their set, with a beefed up full band sound (“William Taylor” was quite anthemic in this context) and James Walbourne pulling out his best guitar god poses while spouse Kami Thompson was a great visual and musical foil. Having seen the Rails several times, it was clear that a great deal of preparation had gone into this set and it was rewarded with a rapturous response. Onwards and upwards – good luck to them.
Up against the 50th anniversary of Ralph McTell’s first Cambridge performance was Lucy Grubb in the Den. Her performance grew in confidence as her set progressed – references to Johnny Cash and a Kacey Musgraves cover (which actually paled in comparison with some of her own material) planted her firmly in a country camp. Possessing a melodic and narrative lyrical flare that was present in the tracks from her “Dear Walter” EP and other new songs, she displayed real commercial crossover potential.
Friday started with the Mojo interview in the Club Tent. Colin Irwin led Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico through an account of their musical background and history. Somewhat sparsely attended as the interview subjects hadn’t been announced in the programme, but most who were there were held in rapt attention by the guys’ musical war stories, internationalist world view and all-round niceness. Top blokes.
Kerri Watt was an early afternoon fixture on Stage 1. Visually striking in a vertical two shades of denim outfit (you had to be there) her voice – which was at times reminiscent of….Lulu….added a bit of character to a number of mid-paced songs. The addition of Will Pound on harmonica towards the end of the set added a bit more musical dynamism, but I’d like to hear full(er) band recordings before making a judgement.
Graham Nash was the penultimate act on the main stage on Friday and played a perfectly chosen and paced set. Lots of CSNY (and all their other incarnations) tracks and the hits like “Marrakesh Express” and “Love the One You’re With” were held back, after politically influenced earlier tracks like “Military Madness” and “Immigration Man” which found strong approval with the crowd. Ending on “Teach your Children well”, Nash was the perfect Cambridge “icon” act – and vocally and musically he still has fire in his belly.
Following that were Calexico and Iron & Wine – unusually for the final act at Cambridge, the crowd hung around (as opposed to dashing off for the last bus to the Coldham Common campsite). This was much more of a “proper” collaborative performance as opposed to the first time that they toured together where the set was one third Calexico, on third Iron & Wine and one third collaboration, or thereabouts. Most of the “Years to burn” album was played along with a cover of the Bunnymen’s “Bring on the Dancing Horses”. Musically, the atmospheric soundscapes of the set brought the night to a relaxed end – for those familiar with the material, it was a subtle delight of a performance, but went somewhat against the Cambridge tradition of a night ending rabble-rousing set.
If the previous night ended on a more gentle note, that certainly couldn’t be levelled at Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra who – for me – put on one of the top performances of the festival first thing on Saturday on the main stage. While they have new material yet unreleased, they very wisely played a tried and trusted set of numbers like “Beaujolais”, “Life is a drag”, “Cats and Chickens” and High Speed train”. Add to that the band’s dry humour, charisma and enthusiasm and it was a recipe to melt the hearts of the most pure, died in the wool folkie. At the start of their set, the audience were just drifting into the tent. At the end, the place was rammed and they were going mad. Someone put RH & TTO on prime-time TV now and make them famous.
Often good things can be found on the smaller stages and I got a tip-off that The Marriage, playing in the Den, were worth checking out. I knew of Dave Burns through his role in ahab and Orphan Colours, but his duo with Kirsten Adamson (sister of Callum, ex-ahab and daughter of Stuart of Big Country) had criminally bypassed me. Singing songs about getting dumped rarely sounded so good. Dave’s guitar playing, not usually brought to the fore in Orphan Colours was on show here and very impressive it is too. Kirsten’s characterful voice was a real revelation, both as a lead and harmony instrument – shades of Emmylou and Gram and the Civil Wars (if they came from Edinburgh and London) are evoked by the duo. The pair hadn’t played for a year as Kirsten has had a baby, but the number of new songs performed and the stage talk of more to come was very welcome. Definitely the most pleasant surprise of the festival.
Later that same night was the much awaited return of Lucinda Williams to the Cambridge stage that she’d graced six years earlier (there was some trepidation amongst the time served journos in the pit at memories of unpleasantness surrounding that previous show) but fortunately all was well on this occasion. On this tour Lucinda has been playing all of “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” but festival time constraints meant that she mixed highlights of the album into the set, along with other songs like “Something about what happens when we talk” and “West Memphis” as well as covers of “Can’t let go” by Randy Weeks and Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor”. A ten song set and three encores (An a capella “Faith and Grace”/”Get right with God”/”Foolishness”) exorcised fully the demons of her previous visit and brought her several more new fans.
Outside of the more obviously Americana type artists, Gruff Rhys performed a set that was part performance art to the bemusement of the folkier purists. Walking on with a sign that said “Applause” and another which said “Louder” – and then another that said “Prolonged applause” was not unexpected (yet still surprising) from the former Super Furry Animals man. Talisk, the Scottish trio had the final Saturday slot and played with a ferocious energy that scorched those hardy souls still standing from the day’s heat. Concertina player Mohsen Amini has to be seen to be believed in the energy of his performance – the perfect festival rabble-rousing band. Jose Gonzalez has come to wider attention through the use of his cover of the song “Heartbeats” in a TV ad and despite most of the audience seemingly only familiar with that song, he played a gentle set that went down well on a warm afternoon.
2020? Why not…
Courtesy Nick Barber
It should go without saying; but ………. ALL PHOTOS ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT LAWS. If you want to download/use any of Nick’s photos get in touch and we will organise ‘something’.
Zervas & Pepper Endless Road, Restless Nomad Zerodeo Records/Universal Distribution
The Sound of a Laurel Canyon Summer From the Valleys.
I’m still smarting from missing SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019 as there’s always an act I’ve never heard of that blows me away; just like Zervas & Pepper did in 2015. It appears not a lot and a whole lot has happened since then for the Welsh duo; especially in America where even the legend that is David Crosby is now a fan. ‘Not a lot’ in as much as their stories, harmonies and singing styles are pretty much as I remember; but this is now a ‘Cat A’ release on a major label and the production sounds very luscious and expensive too; but never distracting from what Zervas & Pepper do best; singing from the heart. The album opens with Kathryn turning the clock back to 1968 with The Gift; a glorious Soft Rocker, with Country undertones that harks back to those halcyon Laurel Canyon days when we all thought every day was a holiday. It’s all too easy to drift aimlessly through the songs that make up ENDLESS ROAD, RESTLESS NOMAD, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all; especially during these balmy days of Summer; but then you will miss out on some wonderful songs that should be listened to quite intently; such is the cleverness of the couple’s songwriting. The two very disparate songs that make up the album title Endless Road which has Kathryn’s amazing voice taking us on an epic emotional journey and when Paul goes all ‘James Taylor’ on Restless Nomad; musicians of all persuasions will know exactly where he’s coming from (as will quite a few listeners with proper day jobs too!). With three albums already under their belts; there’s now a distinct maturity to the couple’s complex storytelling; yet all are accessible regardless of your approach to music; Cruising Clear sounds almost too perfect; but keep listening and the story peels away to reveal something that could have been on one of the early Eagles albums; while Gas Bottle Blue is a quintessentially British song masquerading as Americana and will sound perfect drifting out of the car radio on a sunny afternoon. Another track that deserves your attention is Salvador, not just because of Paul’s exquisite guitar playing but the way the beautiful story unfurls leaving you smiling and almost breathless by the end. Selecting a Favourite Song is rarely easy; and with so many here that could be Hit Singles (if such things still exist for our generation); but Catacombs and There Is Only Love really do stand out; and would on the wireless too; but I’m going to choose the charismatic Indian Seas which closes the album as it’s a bit left of centre and I don’t think Kathryn Pepper has ever sung finer…… and that’s saying something! This album sounds like a game changer for the couple who are fiercely proud of their Welsh roots, because Zervas & Pepper don’t really fit into the burgeoning British Country scene, as they transcend borders with grace…….. they are now a truly International Americana act that sit comfortably in all genres of this Musical Gumbo.
The Gunboat Diplomats Judgment Road (Single) Self-Release
There’s been a lot going on recently in my ‘personal life’ and coupled with the extreme heat across the UK I’ve been left feeling a bit weary; and not in the mood for listening to new music. Then, last night along came an e-mail from ‘Gunboat’ Smith leader of The Gunboat Diplomats who are a ‘song shop that records pop music with a vintage vibe in a variety of genres’; well; that piqued my interest as it could be the by-line for RMHQ itself! He hasn’t told me a lot about the band; but linked me to this fabulous rocking slice of rural Americana; equal parts Bruce, Waco Brothers and Chuck Prophet! I’ve not had time to listen to the rest of their “Manifest Destiny project” also named JUDGMENT ROAD, but young Gunboat assures me that there are Rootsy tunes a’plenty and a Motownish R&B number and even a Reggae song too on the album ……. and personally, I can’t wait!
Treading The Fine Line Between Contemporary Country and Americana With Ease
For someone who has been ‘on the scene’ for a whole lot of years Chuck Hawthorne isn’t the most prolific of recording artists; with this being only his second release and a follow up to the debut disc in 2015, Silver Line (which we loved). Even this release only came about when Chuck received a copy of his friend and ‘Original Outlaw’ Richard Dobson’s posthumous release I Hear Singing; and especially the beautiful I Will Fight No More Forever, which Chuck has faithfully recorded and has chosen to close his album with. The evocative Such is Life (C’est La Vie) an epic tale of a Biker’s ‘last ever ride’ on ’46 Indian opens proceedings and sets the mood quite perfectly for a series of stories and anecdotes that couldn’t be more Americana if each came packaged in the Stars and Stripes. Like so many before him, Chuck Hawthorne is obviously a mighty fine songwriter, but what sets him apart is his expressively warm voice which draws the you in as if you are listening to a secret. Prime examples are Standing Alone and Broken Good; but it’s true of just about every song here. While there’s a definite ‘taste’ of Don Williams and Charly Pride in the way Hawthorne delivers Amarillo Wind, Arrowhead & Porcupine Claw and the winsome Worthy of the Sea; but all are a lot more contemporary and slightly edgier than either of those Legends would or could write or sing about; with Chuck Hawthorne majestically treading the tightrope that is Country Music these days. Earlier today I read an article about why Country Music radio in the USA is haemorrhaging listeners; and while some of what the journalist said was true …… he also failed to mention that there should be a place on daytime radio for singers like this; especially when he can break a heart in two one minute with Broken Wire then lift you up and make you think deeply about the world we live in with New Lost Generation; but perhaps these are the ‘truths’ they don’t want you to hear? That last song New Lost Generation is by far Chuck Hawthorne’s finest song here, but I’m going for his rendition of his friend Richard Dobson’s ode to Chief Joseph, I Will Fight No More Forever as the RMHQ Favourite Song; because it’s not just intelligent and articulate but a song that will stay with me forever; and also make me hunt down the original album it came from.
The 40 Acre Mule Goodnight & Good Luck State Fair Records
The Pumping Heartbeat and Pure Soul of Modern Rock & Roll!
You know me by now; I’m regularly guilty of ‘judging an album by the cover’ ……. but why; not? It’s what I, and probably you did as kids back in the olden golden days of wasting whole Saturday afternoons back in our teenage days. So, with that thought in mind, I’m 99.99% sure I’d have asked Graham Herdman if I could hear a couple of tracks from this album had I found it in the racks of his record stall in Stanley Market. It wouldn’t have took even two minutes of the Gritty Blues of opening track You’d Better Run for me to be counting my pocket money to swap for this album of earthly delights. What’s not to like? As they themselves say, 40 Acre Mule ‘blur the lines covering ‘Country, Soul, Blues and Rock & Roll!” Where to start? The Rocking Boogie of 16 Days is as good a place as any; but hey kids ……. that sax solo that opens the sultry Somethin’ Next to Nothin’ will shake the rafters before the band slips and slides into a Bob Seger/Creedence swampy ode to luuurve. The band started up in Dallas only 4 years ago and have been hacking around the back-roads of America ever since, honing their craft until the world was ready for songs like Shake Hands With The Devil, Hat in Hand and the bodacious and funklicious Bathroom Walls. As a man of a ‘certain vintage’ I can bore you with all of the influences that litter this fabulous album; but who cares where this ‘sound’ comes from? It’s where 40 Acre Mule are now that counts, right? In their bio they say “We’ve gone from 10 to 15 friends in a dive bar on a Tuesday to playing full-on festivals without even having an album out,” and I can only presume both scenarios can be adjusted to wow the crowds out front. Choosing a Favourite Song certainly hasn’t been easy, as the full on Rocking and Rolling Josephine was my first selection last week; but now I’m erring towards the lowdown and sexy Be With Me which kinda caught me by surprise the other night; and I like that with an album; when it has the ability to keep throwing up songs that make me ‘think’ as well as make me want to jump around like a loon! So, Be With Me it is. GOODNIGHT & GOOD LUCK is a timeless artifact, owing a lot to bands and singles from the cusp of the late 60’s and early 70’s; but if I was 18 or 19 again today this album would blow my mind and 40 Acre Mule would be my favourite ever band.
Classy Singer-Songwriter and Interpreter of all That is Roots Music.
As has happened a couple of times this year; I’ve received this album from two different Publicists; and this time they couldn’t be more disparate …….. the American Connection is primarily known for Blues music and the British one Folk; and there lies my dilemma …….. where does Alice Howe fit in to my little world? Opening track Twilight wafts lushly across the whole Americana spectrum; like a pretty musical butterfly and finally lands on warm and colourful folksy flower, whereas the next song Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes certainly has a delightfully sweet Blues timbre to it; as it should because it’s written by Taj Mahal, who has maybe influenced this version in many ways too. According to the attached notes Alice has a ‘mezzo-soprano’ voice …… I wouldn’t know; but it is bloody lovely, and she sure can catch your attention with it! The mix of self-penned and cover versions is intriguing; with Alice’s own songs Still on My Mind and the funky and feisty Getaway Car standing proudly alongside some veritable classics that span the generations. Without worrying too much about a pigeonhole to put this album in to, I’ve just sat back and let myself get immersed in the delightful Too Long at the Fair and the Rootsy Celticana of You Just Never Know. Plus I’m suitably impressed by more of Alice’s choices of songs to cover ; ooohhhh oooohhhh and oooh; she turns Muddy’s Honey Bee into a late night sultry seduction ode, while Don’t Think Twice Babe gets dusted off, polished and a whole new age group are set to discover Uncle Bob’s skills via this album; and if there wasn’t another song here that made me crumble like a baby learning to walk, Ms Howe’s impressive rendition of Bring It On Home to Me would surely have been the RMHQ Favourite Song here by a mile. As a sucker for a good old fashioned Love Song, I always have; dating back to my teenage years pining over Tamla and Stax 45 RPM singles in my cold and lonely bedroom; so it will come as no surprise to find that the tantalizing What We Got Is Gold which is heartbreaking, heartfelt and even uplifting in equal measures is the official RMHQ Favourite Song here. After spending the afternoon in a sunny back garden listening over and over again; let’s just settle on Alice Howe being a timeless Singer-Songwriter in the mould of Nanci Griffith, James Taylor and Joan Baez ……. laid back, thoughtful and most of all classy.
Released USA May 17th 2019 Released UK July 15th 2019
Harry Harris I Feel Drunk All The Time Self-Release
Scottish Americana that Criss-Crosses Indie, Folk-Rock and Classic Folk.
It seems like 100 years ago that I reviewed Harry Harris’ debut album (2010) for a magazine (which shall remain nameless!) and out of nowhere he got in touch a couple of weeks ago asking if I’d give his latest and 3rd release an airing. Well dear reader, a lot has happened to young Harry in the intervening years; he no longer resides in Wales….. now it’s Ye Olde Edinburgh where he sells himself as a singer/songwriter/journalist now; where the latter job includes RMHQ Favourites Nylon, Vice, Mundial and more. While I vaguely remember the first album as being on the cusp of the Folk bracket; now I’ve played I FEEL DRUNK ALL THE TIME quite a few times I’d definitely now describe him as being an all encompassing Singer-Songwriter as the songs here are a lot more rounded and contemporary with a foot in several camps, starting with the powerful Marathon; a deep, dark and brooding tale that uses that ‘sport’ as a metaphor for dear life itself; and it manages to tick a lot of Americana and Post-Indie boxes too. Perhaps the use of a saxophone in the Memphis gives it a hint of Grown-Up Blue Eyed Soul; but don’t think you can really dance to it; as it’s the type of song you will find yourself wallowing in late at night while you try to mend a broken heart with a bottle of wine. Harris’ songwriting is universal, and as this album more or less came about following the death of his best friend at an unfeasibly young age; everyone will find not just solace but a kinship in Bloodletting and the title track itself I FEEL DRUNK ALL THE TIME, and the gently rolling guitar in the latter l take your breath away. For a Welshman; there’s a distinct Scottishness to the whole album; as it sounds like it couldn’t have been written or recorded anywhere else with the starkness of Things John Hated and Free Italian Food managing to take melancholy into a stratosphere originally inhabited by Donovan and Bert Jansch but more latterly Eddi Reader and Kris Drever. When you have such a rich and expressive voice as Harry has, ‘Folk Music’ is always going to be the first thing you think of; the bouncy Deadliest Warrior and All My Worst Ideas (both with a band in tow) criss-cross Indie, Folk-Rock and even the latest wave of Scots-Americana with ease and indeed, rhetoric. To a greater or lesser degree I FEEL DRUNK ALL THE TIME has caught me ‘at the right time’ as my ‘head hasn’t been in the best of places recently’ and one song in particular caught me off guard and has had me going back to it again and again; making the bucolic and brittle Making a Go Of This my Favourite Song here; although the off-kilter subject matter may not appeal to everyone; but the sentiment will keep you coming back peeling away the layers until you crumble like house built on sand too. It may sound odd calling this collection of deeply personal dark and brooding songs a ‘pleasant surprise’; but it has been as Harry Harris is a mighty fine songwriter and singer too; and I’d have been very disappointed if I’d missed this rather beautiful and brittle album.