This is Jack Dumery’s new chronicle. Jack kindly chose the CDs and sent them , allowing me to review them with an open ear. And I found in the batch some real treasures in various styles, honky tonk, cajun or gospel hillbilly. Although I don’t have Jack’s writing abilities to English, I hope to pass round the pleasure I had discovering the CDs.
Here we go…
Charlie Parr and the Black Twig Pickers « Glory In The Meeting House » (House of Mercy MR024, 2010)
I really don’t know if Charlie Parr and his partners had ever cut anything else before this CD, but they sound as if they have been together for a long time. This is a record of pure energy and fervour. The lead vocalist (Parr?) has a fine, exuberant voice, well suited to this style, gospelbilly. Think they revamp some old favourites ; among them I liked particularly their rendition of Brother Claude Ely‘s « There Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down », not a poor imitation to the original. They also use acoustic like washboard, jaw harp, tambourine, plus usual guitar, fiddle and banjo, which give to the entire CD an old-time flavour. Other tracks of interest were « I’m Going Home », a true fiddle tour-de-force in an Irish style by Mike Gangloff; another highlight is « I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down », full of bluesy resonator guitar and brillantly sung by Parr : it reminds me of Delta blues sacred songs of the ’30s like Charley Patton (Oh Death) or Bo Weavil Jackson (« I’m On My Way To The Kingdom Land »). The CD title track « Glory In The Meeting House » is as good, this time again an excellent fiddle led tune. The last track I did notice from a CD moreover excellent from the beginning to the end is « Light From The Lighthouse ». It’s starting slow, then embarks in a fast asylum, everybody’s shouting the refrain on a frantic pace. Buy this CD ! You can even hear it while playing<a href= »http://www.partypoker.fr/>online games</a>
Linzay Young & Joel Savoy (Valcour Records, no # number, 2009)
A nice Cajun production out of the Studio SavoirFaire in Eunice, Louisiana. Both fiddlers, I’d assume Joel Savoy is one member of the rich Savoy family, have the knack to get the right sound, change the pace, and never be monotonous. For a Cajun CD you would expect an accordion, which is not present, but not missing. Both play traditional Cajun tunes, some of them lesser known old songs, in a personal manner. The vocals are well-suited (I don’t know if both are singing), for example in the fast « J’ai laisse de la maison » (I left my home), on a guitar and triangle backing, or the slowy, bluesy « Mercredi Soir » (Wednesday night). I noticed further songs, like the fine opening « Madame Young » or the ending « Empty Bottle Stomp », an instrumental by twin fiddles. A very fine Cajun album. Long live Louisiana music !
The Cactus Blossoms (Cactus Blossoms, no # number, Cannon Falls, Minnesota, 2011)
As the cover says « Guitars strum and the fiddle takes a lead … A steel guitar cries while the bass walks up the streets … » The first recording of a tight little Country band, which does an uncompromising honky tonk CD. They are led by singers, Mssrs. Jack Torrey and Page Burkum and their song writing abilities are brilliant, 8 songs of ten : love gone wrong, life and death, and the great beyond songs, as they say by themselves. They have a style of their own (backed by fiddle, bass and steel/dobro), although one may detect influences, for example their great predecessors Dave & Deke (« Cold Foot Boogie« ) or Jimmy Roy’s 5* Hillbillies, or as in the old Delmore Brothers‘ « Blue Railroad Train ». I liked the sad and bluesy « Lonesome And Blue » too. A promising combo, that I wish to hear more from.