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Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles - Diamonds in the Dark

Diamonds in the Dark

Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles

Sugar Hill Records - SUG-CD-4028

Available from Sugar Hill Records.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Frank Gutch Jr.
(frank.gutch.jr@gmail.com)

Sarah Borges is a young Brenda Lee with a Tom Petty sneer. She is the perfect lead in the perfect Sixties girl group. She is Loretta Lynn in her prime. Depending upon song, she is all of those and, thanks to the amazing amount of influences she and the Broken Singles bring into the studio, a lot more. A close listen shows flashes of rockabilly, rock & roll, country & western, pop and R&B with production and sound straight out of 60s Nashville, New York and London. And somehow, like many other bands out there these days (how far music has come), they make it work.

Borges has a powerful voice and is always in control, but this album is not just Borges. The Broken Singles bring expertise to the sound and, thanks to a fine production job by Paul Q. Kolderie, so do a number of sidemen. Although there is little doubt the band could pull any and all of these songs off live, the additions are key in filling out an already full studio sound.

As for Diamonds in the Dark, did I mention Brenda Lee? The Day We Met could have been straight out of Lee's repertoire had she been born fifty years later. Chomping guitars, girl group chorus and great bridge are over the top AM, even down to the brick wall end. Borges and crew next dig up an old X track which has me reconsidering my take on that band. Come Back To Me, Borges-style, takes me back to the 80s via the 50s and 60s, her voice having a certain updated vocal group feel of that era, and that's just the start. Backstep to the sixties with Stop and Think It Over, the Fifties with the call-and-response R&B Open Up Your Back Door, any-era country with Tom Waits' Blind Love (destined to be a jukebox classic), or 60s/70s country & western (False Eyelashes).

The real treasures, though, are the power pop-ish Lonely Town of Love, a guitar-propelled track to which Borges brings a slight nasal tone which would make Tom Petty envious; the slightly jazzy Belle of the Bar which lives on a minor chord progression for verse and major chords for chorus, a great contrast; and the smokin' hot and much too short Diablito, a rockin' encore track if I've ever heard one.

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles don't have to go back to what most people consider the roots to get their sound. Their roots are in the pre-modern Nashville and rock & roll New York and 60s pop Los Angeles. They borrow from a large group of styles and people and do it so well, you don't even notice. They have fans, no doubt, and they will have more. Bands like this get better the more they play and they're playing plenty. If you get a chance to see them, don't pass it up. On a bad night they will more than likely be impressive and on a good one will probably knock your socks off. The potential is there. Don't miss out.

Track List:

  • The Day We Met/Sarah Borges (James and Jean Music (ASCAP)
  • Come Back To Me/Exene Cervenka & John Doe (Cherry River Music Co. OBO Dimensional Songs of the Knoll/BMI and Plaything Music OBO Grosso Modo)
  • Stop and Think It Over/Greg Cartwright (Big Gamble Music/ASCAP)
  • Around 9/Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles (Nowavehardhonk Music/ASCAP & James and Jean Music/ASCAP & Megaphone Crooning Classics/ASCAP & Burning Bridges/ASCAP)
  • Lonely Town of Love/Sarah Borges (James and Jean Music/ASCAP)
  • False Eyelashes/Tubert Tapp (Vintage Music, Inc.)
  • Modern Trick/Sarah Borges (James and Jean Music/ASCAP)
  • Belle of the Bar/Sarah Borges (James and Jean Music/ASCAP)
  • Open Up Your Back Door/William C. Baker (Fort Knox Music/BMI & Trio Music Company/BMI)
  • Lord Only Knows/Sarah Borges (James and Jean Music/ASCAP)
  • Diablito/Sarah Borges, J. Brennan, Binky, R. Dulaney, & M. Castellana (James and Jean Music/ASCAP & Bondylan Music/ASCAP & Nowavehardhonk Music/ASCAP & Megaphone Crooning Classics/ASCAP & Burning Bridges/ASCAP)
  • Blind Love/Tom Waits (Jalma Music/ASCAP)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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