I reviewed Willy Porter's earlier CD, Available Light, here, and How to Rob a Bank, his new one, is less cinematic (not that Light was a soundtrack but it had touches of filmic accompaniment to it) though it's difficult as hell to force Porter into any definitive pigeonhole. He is, in fact, quite well known for his defiance of conventions in whatever mode he chooses.
I Didn't Bring It Up, for instance, casts the semi-orchestralism he favors every so often, a folk song blended with the warm light symphonicism that the Beatles took to when they weren't Sargeant Peppering their brains out. That soon gets broken up in the gritty Hard Place, a tough hymn to the Marines. The title cut is a wry twist on the old Grey Fox's game, a lighthearted but cutting paean to the corruption of our times, to the new criminal class: CEOs and the captains of industry. It's a hilarious bit of versifying, with lightly Mexicalied horns adding spice and a devil-may-care offshoot appropriate to the Uppa Crust attitude, but razor sharp in its deadly satirizing and underlying rue.
Fear Only Fear is the only Porter solo cut this time out, but it's a smart reflection on our most primal bugaboo backed with his usual sharp string plucking, with the POP (Porters Only, Please) backing choir, and simul-synching expanding the band (him) in the middle section, and, Jesus!, can that guy play guitar! This is sometimes forgotten while critics are rightly dazzled by his other virtues. The closer, Barefoot Reel, wraps everything up in a light gospelly love song mindful of the mellower moments of the old James Gang, of Dale Peters' White Man / Black Man and even of some of the old Spooky Tooth classic era. As usual, you get a hell of a lot for your listening pleasure with Willy Porter. This is his 7th release, and he just keeps getting better and better.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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