FolkWorld Issue 39 07/2009

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Doug Adams & Dan Hayes "Blues Duo"
Label:
Blue skunk music; 2008
Joe Price "Rain or Shine"
Label: Blues acres productions; BAP#2; 2009
Kally Darm "Fishing, more delta blues and beyond"
Label: Farmbandmusic; LC00852; 2008
Mary Flower "Bridges"
Label: Yellow dog records; 2009
In this review a bunch of blues albums that found their way to this folk magazine. First the duo Doug Adams & Dan Hayes that play acoustic blues in a traditional way. Hayes has been into music for a few decades and is known for his work with the Dan Hayes group (which was started in 1969) and always expressed his love for the blues in many ways. After many years of relatively silence, the past years he has been recording again both solo and with other musicians including this latest work with Doug Adams. Most of the ten songs are from Hayes hand, they are recorded live and shows blues in a pure form. Guitar, vocals and harmonica form the basic elements. The recording quality could be better but itís good enough to give a picture of this duoís possibilities. Blues songs with a story, brought by two musicians who love what they are doing. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing remarkable, just pure and honest music. Next one is a production on his own label, Joe Price. He has been playing blues for over three decades and his reputation as being one of the masters on blues guitar and vocals is still growing. Backed by Vicki Price on three songs and one song with Keni Ewing on drums and Al Naylor on trumpet, Price blows his turbulent and fabulous blues music all over the living room. Itís raw, pure and fantastically played. Favourites are Joesís guitar stomp, an instrumental guitar solo with a rich and bit wild sound, Nellie bell an acoustic instrumental piece in itís purest form and Rock slide with the beating drums and this great interaction between trumpet and guitar. Small masterpiece, this album! Than the German Kally Darm with his album Fishing, more delta blues and beyond. Once started as a folk singer, he is now a locally known blues musician with still stacks of folk influences. On this album compositions from Leadbelly, Jimi Hendrix, Scott Joplin, Robert Johnson, Ewan McColl and many other known and lesser known names. A nice variety of styles, strong finger picking and a surprising combination with the sousaphone on three compositions. From pure blues, to light acoustic guitar music, folk and back to blues. A friendly and very accessible album with well played acoustic music. Over to female blues by Mary Flower. She has a long career in blues, bluegrass and roots music and is now an established singer, guitarist and teacher. On her new album original material is mixed with cover from known and lesser known artists. She changes from sober, pure acoustic music like Rhythm of the road and the instrumental Columbia river rag, to full and rich sounding songs like There aint no sweet man thatís worth the salt of my tears with nice tuba and harmony vocals, and The Ghost of the St. Louis blues with nice clarinet parts. Flower is a singer that stays close to the traditional styles and doesnít feel the necessity to reinvent or renew the music. This music is solid as a rock and is rooted in a long tradition.
www.joepriceblues.com, www.kally-darm.de, www.maryflower.com
Eelco Schilder


Carver Trio "Broken Sleep"
Label:
Taith records; TRCD004; 2006
Hugh Masekela "Phola"
Label: Times square records; 97012; 2008
GŁnther Burndorfer & Heinz Steinbauer "Fine blend"
Label: Own label; 2009
The Sophie Duner String Quartet "The City of My Dreams"
Label: Own label; 2008
In this issues jazz-style albums (more or less) we start with a very nice one by the Carver Trio. This trio includes accordionist and vocalist Luke Carver Goss who is a musician, composer and teacher in many styles of music. He forms the group with Dylan Fowler on guitar, mandocello, clarinet and vocal and Nathan Riki Thomson on bass and flutes. The trio invited violist Oli Wilson Dickson on two tracks. This first album of this trio contains sixteen compositions, almost all from one of the trio musicians. Good, solid acoustic music clearly rooted in the jazz. But with traditional elements as well from the English, African and Scandinavian folk. Itís a relaxing album with well played, bit introvert, music by three very nice musicians. Second album comes from South-African flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela. For over three decades Masekela has spread his music over the world. One of the first who mixed world and jazz music and kept ding that until today. His latest work is called Phola. Nine new, mostly self written, compositions with the master himself on the flugelhorn and on vocals. Backed by a bunch of professional musicians on (African) percussion, clarinet, drums, bass, piano, guitars and so on. A moody album with easy going world-jazz that shows a master-musician in his most relaxed way. No need to proof his quality with difficult music, just pure and open minded music that brings two worlds of music together. A bit of a mystery stays the duo GŁnther Burndorfer & Heinz Steinbauer. No webpage, no promo sheet so I cant give much background information. It seems to be a duo from Austria with Burndorfer on guitar and vocals and Steinbauer on clarinet, sax and diatonic accordion. This album contains sixteen songs which are almost all original. With a jazzy undertone they play acoustic music with (Celtic) folk, gospel and blues influences. Burndorfer has a nice vice to listen to but his way of singing stays constantly in the same reach, which makes it a bit predictable after half the album. The finger picking is fine, but the charm of the album is given by Steinbauer on his clarinet and accordion. He colours the easy going compositions with, often frivolous, melodies. Nice album but not one that differentiate it self from the big stream of jazzy-blues-folky acoustic albums recorded world wide. My personal favourite comes from Sophie Duner and her string quartet. Originally she comes from Sweden, but she has lived in several other parts of the world. She has studied jazz improvisation in the USA where she also had her own orchestra in Boston during the nineties. On this new album she sings modern jazz with sometimes a touch of avant-garde singing. Somehow her voice has something classical as well. The city of my dreams shows a fabulous singer with strong techniques and the capability to sing out of the heart. Surprisingly good compositions sounding fresh and direct to the point. Her powerful vocals are perfectly backed by the string quartet. Sometimes they sound as the perfect couple, on other moments they sound like a fighting couple, but always in the right balance. A beautiful album, with some intriguing compositions.
www.lukecarvergoss.co.uk, www.sophieduner.com
Eelco Schilder


Cliff Wagner & the Old #7 "Hoboís Lullaby"
Label: Wagco records; 002; 2008
In this review a bunch of, more or less, Country/blues rock albums. Starting with Cliff Wagner & the old #7 and their latest album Hoboís lullaby. Cliff Wagner has been holding a banjo ever since he was seven years old and this is still his main instrument in his music, although he is a great fiddler and singer as well. On this new album fifteen tracks, mostly written by Wagner himself but also the bands version of Dylans Donít think twice, Muddy Waters Rollin & tumbling and the traditional Caroll county blues. Hoboís lullaby is an album by a bunch of great musician with a energetic and outspoken front-man. Strong blues/country-rock with influences from all kinds of related styles. Itís the bands fresh and easy going approach what makes this album so nice to listen to. Itís music without Ďworriesí and like a soft day in spring. Very nice!
www.oldnumber7.net
Eelco Schilder


Sean Taylor "Calcutta Grove"
Label: Own label; 2009
Sean Taylor is a 25 years old singer-songwriter from London. Started writing songs at the age of fifteen and had his first performance two years later. Now, over 300 concerts and his third album just released, itís time for an international breakthrough. Inspired by musicians such as JJ Cale, John Martyn, John Renbourn, Tom waits and all those other singers of the same calibre, Taylor creates his own universe with sometimes a hint of those who inspire him. But mostly with a unique and very own sound. Taylor is a real solo artist, except for a trumpet player in one song, no guest musicians at all and almost all songs are original and he plays all the instruments himself. I love his fragile sound, the gentle guitar and simple, but effective, keyboard in the brilliant song Buried alive. His voice makes me calm and the atmosphere of this song does remind me a bit of the more introvert Nick Drake songs, although it has a very different sound. After this moment of pureness he brings me with both feet back on the ground with Salvo a heavy electric guitar solo, which might seem out of place but fits perfectly in the concept of the album. Although Iím more into folk than into blues, he impresses me with his more blues orientated songs. Fabulous is the Skip James cover Hard time killing floor blues which has a nice psychedelic touch. But also Revelations is nice with this dreamy harmonica far away in the distance. And just when I think I can close my eyes and finish this cd peacefully he knocks me out with the over 8 minutes song Nightmares. Dreamy psych-folk with a jazzy touch, drunk piano player and a singer who has to face his worst dreams. Well, I can only conclude that Sean Taylor is an artist I always dream about finding a CD from In my review pile. I donít know his first two works, but hearing this third one I cant conclude differently that itís time to concur the world. Not even half way 2009 and I already know at least one CD that will be in my top ten of best albums. Calcutta grove is, according to my opinion which you donít have to take serious at all, one of the best singer-songwriters I have heard in a long time and Sean Taylor has everything to become a new sensation.
www.seantaylorsongs.com
Eelco Schilder


Murrumbidgee Jones "The same joke twice"
Label: Gecko; 003; 2008
Murrumbidgee Jones is the alias of Australian singer-Songwriter Wawick Irwin. With The same joke twice he publishes thirteen new songs. Together with eleven guest musicians, he shows his talent as a great songwriter and a passionate musician. His songs are alive, original and recognisable at the same time. Nice folk, country influences mixed with some bluegrass, rock and blues. The album starts strong with Cold black night and Somebody followed me home. Two songs in which he shows his own style and way of singing and writing songs. His bit alternative style has something irresistible. It must be his uncomplicated way of singing and the fact that the music has something like old-time music without being old fashioned. Listen to Sweet moments which has this great mixture of mandolin and light dissonant violin. A very nice album from a great Australian singer-songwriter.
www.murrimbidgeejones.com
Eelco Schilder


Jessie Jones "In the Lighthouse"
Label: Own label; 2008
When I saw Jessie Jones her second album In the lighthouse for the first time I immediately had the feeling it must be something special. A totally homemade sleeve and booklet with small, simple drawings. Every instrument on the album she played herself and all songs are her own compositions. The album starts with the title song In the lighthouse. A song in which she carefully, almost shy, sings a intriguing text which reminds of an ancient folksong, but of a fairytale as well. In the second song Nola she sounds much more self confident, great vocals on this one! Same for Nightfall, although I wished that the piano was a bit softer in those tow songs, it would make her voice even more beautiful I think. Like in The dreamship where the piano sounds somewhere in the distance and there is full attention for her singing and this great, sad sounds on the violin, what a beautiful song that gently rocks me into a deep sleep. Does it go on like this? Yes it does! She is powerful in Seventeen, crazy in When Iím sad and fragile in Back again. Jessie Jones has a very special gift, she is one of the few people who is really capable of expressing her feelings in a song. She throws herself into it and with the limited facilities she has, she gets the full result. A unique and personal album that I happen to love even although I think there could be a little bit less piano on the album and a bit more of the softer, gentle instruments.
www.smallbrightsongs.co.uk
Eelco Schilder


Doghouse Roses "Howíve you been all this time?"
Label: Yellowroom music; 005; 2009
Doghouse roses was formed in 2006 by guitarist Paul Tasker and singer Iona MacDonald. After releasing a single and one EP on their own Yellow room label, itís now time for a full length album. This debut includes ten original songs rooted in the Scottish and American folk tradition. The duo is backed by eight musicians including former Cappercaille percussionist Wilf Taylor and Josh Hillman from the Willard grant conspiracy on violin. Howíve you been all this time shows that the duo was ready to record a full length album. Strong vocals by singer MacDonald backed by good guitar work of Tasker. The duo choose their musicians very well, they really add something to the compositions and bring variation into the duoís music. Nice is Stalling that has a soft-bluesy touch, in Happiness they remind me more of the Pentangle style folk, especially in the way Tasker plays his guitar in this song (amongst others). Now I almost forget to mention the opening track Gone there which is a powerful opener in which MacDonald shows her best vocals in a strong composition. Doghouse rose shows itís quality and has everything to entertain a big audience world wide.
www.doghouseroses.org
Eelco Schilder


The Good Intentions "Poor Boy"
Label:
Boronda records; 0008-2; 2008
The good intentions is a UK band focusing on Americana style music. The trio play songs written by lead singer and guitarist R. Peter Davies, he is joined by vocalist Gabrielle Monk and Frank Rosell who also plays the electric guitar. The band is backed by three guest musicians on drums, bass and string instruments. Poor boy is their first full length album after a 4-track demo released in 2006. The twelve songs are written in the style of English and American folk music with the focus more on the Americana style as it is called. The band has an easy going sound with focus on the (harmony) vocals. At moments the album is very enjoyable, but the vocals are not always in perfect harmony and on a few occasions even a bit out of tune. The compositions are composed according to a repeating structure which makes the album a bit predictable after a while. Itís to easy to make a link between the bands name and the result of this first CD, so I wont do that. But Iím very sorry to say that Iím not so wild about this album. It shows some good ideas, but to my personal opinion, the result is a bit disappointing.
www.thegoodintentions.co.uk
Eelco Schilder


Bazar Dilo feat. Irena Maděoski "Tri"
Label: Own label; 2008
Itís now ten years ago that the German band Bazar Dilo was founded. A year after their start they released their debut album and now their third album called Tri is available. Bazar Dilo plays traditional music from several Balkan countries like Macedonia, Bulgaria and a lot from Serbia. They mix this with a few improvisations, some Klezmer and even a Greek song. Some songs do sound familiar like Opa cup and Ederlezi from the Roma tradition. Bazar Dilo shows to be a band who understands the art of fine Balkan music. They bring their music in a powerful way without loosing the right subtlety in their play. Well arranged traditional tunes with strong vocals, sometimes nicely mixed with a bit of jazz. In the ten years this band exist, they became one of Germanyís finest Balkan bands.
www.bazar-dilo.de
Eelco Schilder


Sarakina "Fryderykata"
Label: Amadeus; AMCD005; 2008
This year the group Sarakina celebrates itís ten year anniversary with the release of a interesting new album. The band exists out of three musicians from Poland and an accordionist from Bulgaria. On the album they are joined by a singer and a guest musician on the daf. The band always showed great interest in modern-acoustic interpretations of ethnic music from the Balkan region, especially those of Bulgaria and Macedonia. On Fryderykata they use the elements of these traditions in a tribute to the great composer Chopin. Many classical composers were influenced by ethnic music and used traditional melodies in their work. Sarakina does it the other way around, they use the compositions of Chopin to create new-traditional style music. The album shows not only the quality of Chopin, but also the quality of the musicians and Jacek Grekow as the mastermind behind the groups musical arrangements. Itís interesting how the four musicians let the classical, and often very known, themes, sound like they are deeply rooted in the Balkan tradition. Amazingly strong play of all four musicians, with superb interaction between accordion and clarinet, backed by a solid bass and percussion. I like the intensity with which Grekow plays his accordion. He makes his instrument scream, whisper and everything in between. Mljenek plays his clarinet in a fluent way, not only technically well but with his hearth. Actually that can be said of all the musicians. The bassist and percussionist create a good, bit jazzy, fundament on which Grekow and Mlejnek can build their beautiful melodies. The best album of the band until today, pure music of the highest quality. Sure Chopin is smiling in heaven (or wherever he is right now)
www.sarakina.art.pl
Eelco Schilder


Shevchenko & Golebiowski "Klezmer reloaded"
Label:
Extraplatte; EX 781-2; 2008
A new bunch of worldwide Klezmer albums starting with the duo Shevchenko & Golebiowski and their debut album Klezmer reloaded. Both musicians, originally from Poland and Russia, now live in Vienna. The idea of performing together as Klezmer reloaded cam to their minds not more than one year ago. In this short time they were very successful in Austria with their powerful performances. The album contains twelve tunes, mostly traditionals, but also a Mahler composition and a tango by Petersburski. They perform on clarinet and accordion and are absolutely masters on their instruments. The opening track Nicht ganz shtiler bulgar shows their enthusiastic way of playing. They approach this known traditional in a fresh way and the music sparkles out of the speakers. In Walzer nr.7 they play with more passion. Nice how they mix the low tones of the accordion with the vivid melody of the clarinet, a powerful composition. Beautiful is Scherele rhapsodie with a fantastic sad clarinet sound. The two tango pieces Schjastje majo and Juz nigdy. Sound nice but somehow doesnít have the same impact as many of the other compositions. Nevertheless a great debut album made by two talented musicians.
www.klezmer-reloaded.com
Eelco Schilder


Suppangah Rahayu & Garasi Seni Benawa "Cokekan"
Label:
Felmay; 8141; 2008
Cokekan is the cooperation between Suppangah Rahayu and several musicians of the Garasi Seni Benawa which is a kind of meeting forum for artists. The centre is located at the home of Suppangah, who is not only a musician but also a teacher and specialised in ethnomusicology. The album contains four tracks starting with Krawitan from Central Java. Itís a piece that is usually played at the opening of a concert and might sound a bit chaotic at the start, but soon the composition reveals itís beauty. The complex rhythms and beautiful high pitched female vocals carry a powerful strength. The second composition is called Subasiti who was a queen during the 14th century. A fabulous recording with subtle moves and again strong vocal parts. Jineman is a more easy going piece in which singer Eni Suryani shows her talent in al itís beauty. Itís the most accessible composition on this album. The albums ends with Sekargadhung which tells about the life in the villages on Java. Itís like a story is told, unfortunately I donít understand they lyrics but the music brings many pictures to life. Cokekan shows a part of the Javanese culture in all itís glory. Beautifully played and well recorded.
www.felmay.it
Eelco Schilder


Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay "Puja"
Label:
Felmay; 8137; 2008
Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay is a singer from India who comes from a family of known musicians. Her star has raised fast the past decade and she is considered as one of the best singers of India. Puja is her fourth international release and a wonderful piece of music. On the album she is bacjed by Murad Ali on Sarangi and Sabir Khan on Tabla. She shows the beauty of her melodic voice in three ragaís starting with the almost 40 minutes long Raga puriya dhanashree a traditional raga, sung in the afternoon when the sun disappears into the night. I like it how she takes the time to slowly reveal the essence of the song. Starting soft and gentle and lowly builds towards a more vivid and expressive style of singing. The sarangi sounds like a counter-vocal, weeping into the sunset. The second raga is called Lalita in this almost twenty minutes long traditional raga her singing sounds sharper and louder, itís a more lively raga which shows different aspects of her voice (which has a three octave range). The last raga is called Bhajan in raga mishra bhairavi in which she sounds devoted and like a desperate prayer. Puja shows Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay at her best.
www.felmay.it
Eelco Schilder


Elixir "Super tonic"
Label: Own label; 2008
Elixir is a quintet of brass musicians, violinist and guitarist. Super tonic is their debut album on which the band mixes French-Canadian music like Homage a la belle Gaspese with the Vaudeville song Dance around in your bones. They play Irish jigs and reels, own compositions, tango, waltz and many other styles. The five musicians are technically spoken good musicians. They choose a kind of middle of the road approach of the music, which makes it more a kind of easy listening than dance music. I understand from their promo information that they do play at dance events, this cant be heard on the album on which they play all compositions carefully but in the slow modus. Nothing wrong with that, by the way.
www.elixirmusic.com
Eelco Schilder


Akoustic Odyssey "Ilios"
Label: Own label; 2008
Dem Trio "The Fountain"
Label:
Felmay; FY 8133; 2008
Strings Tradition "Strings Tradition"
Label: Felmay; FY 8100; 2008
Liquid Clarinets "Liquid Clarinets"
Label: Felmay; FY 8150; 2008
In this review a bunch of acoustic world albums of different kinds. First Akoustic odyssey a septet from Australia who mixes worldwide styles into a nice mixture of acoustic roots music. They go from nice Latin music to Mediterranean melancholy, flamenco to some Australian roots. Classical sounds go hand in hand with jazz and funky grooves. It surprises me how this band on guitars, cell, bass, violin, oboe and percussion is able to create such a well balanced, rich and inspired sound. Ilios is an album that entertains, relaxes and gives joy. Played on a high level and with interesting musical arrangements. Well succeed crossover music. The second album comes from the Dem Trio. This trio comes from Turkey and the three musicians on vocals, several kinds of traditional string and percussion instruments, play (more or less) traditional Turkish acoustic music. Their music contains influences from many Turkish regions. The focus lies on the string instruments and somehow it fitís in the picture most people will have of Turkish traditional music. Well played music, close to the way most bands with this type of line up will play those tunes. With Strings tradition we stay in the string based acoustic music. This time an Indian-African cooperation with Mamadou Diabate on the kora, Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan on the sitar and Lalgudi GJR Krishnan on violin. They are joined by Gourishankar on tabla and Murali Tricht on Ghatam. The original composition unite the traditional music of India and Mali into a long symphony of music. Soft, almost romantic, music with room for improvisation. Itís music to close my eyes and dream away. It might especially appeal to those who like Indian sounds, this album makes them very accessible. From strings to the clarinet. The Liquid clarinets is a quintet with three clarinets, accordion, percussion and a few other wind instruments. The band plays traditional music from Mediterranean countries. They go from klezmer style, to Turkish influenced music and Italian tarantella. It goes from happy celebrations to pure sadness. Itís interesting to hear how this band shows the many sides of the clarinet. Well played album with pure music.
www.akousticodyssey.com, www.stringstradition.com
Eelco Schilder


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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 07/2009

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