• al scorch and the country soul ensemble Tired Ghostly Town (LP, £12.50)

    label: Orange Twin

    "Tired Ghostly Town" is a highly spirited recording touching on the agile musicianship of country/bluegrass greats like Flatt and Scruggs and Bill Monroe, while also incorporating the storytelling of such great artists as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan in these rich vignettes portraying modern American life in small and large towns alike. The record opens with the frenzied and frantic "Board up the Windows", which conveys the tale of an ailing and failing small town, the venomous vocal delivery and break neck pace bringing to mind the Pogues at their earliest, rawest stage. "The Hearse Driver" is a beautiful, melancholy ballad describing the toll such a job takes on a man, surrounded by death and misery in his daily occupation. This song features a lovely clarinet melody courtesy of Laura Carter, known for her work with Elf Power, Vic Chesnutt, Neutral Milk Hotel, and many others. Side two opens with "Giant Wars and Dinosaurs", a poetic rumination on modern man's reliance on oil, and the problems compounded by such a reliance. "Two Flags" is a bittersweet tale of love and death, propelled along by a jaunty arrangement with a classic fiddle and mandolin melody. Overall the arrangements and music are very stripped down , allowing the vocals and stories to take the foreground, though the lovely flourishes of accordion, organ, trumpet, violin, stand up bass, and trumpet add a deeply effective and ancient sounding colour to the tunes. Tracks : 1. Board Up the Windows, 2. Chicago, 3. The Hearse Driver, 4. Miss Rosie, 5. Working Dream, 6. Giant Wars and Dinosaurs, 7. Hard Times, 8. Movie Picture, 9. Two Flags, 10. Tired Ghostly Town


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