Red Beet Records - RBRCD010
Available from Red Beet Records.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
From the very first Who'll be the Next in Line? stagger-step of Phil Lee's opening Neon Tombstone to his closing book-ended mellow-out in The Taterbug Rag, this excellent anthology is the third in a series issued by the Red Beet label, and I'm a bit shocked I haven't heard of the line before, 'cause everything is really really good. I definitely need to get out more often.
In fact, one barely knows where to start. Kieran Kane's insistent mellow rocker Way Down Below? Cooper & Green's Kevin Coyne-ish Gospel Song? Elizabeth Cook's funky wah'ed psychedelic On the Wire? Audrey Auld's warmly perky Love You Like the Earth, with it's beautifully simple guitar middle eight? Ai-yi-yi, there's just too much that's absolutely top notch! Let's return to Phil Lee and work out from there.
He's a wry sonofabitch, all sly rough mid-West tumble and smartassery, a cat who's been there and back yet retained his funny bone. Anyone who can say "Yes, I met the Dalai Lama / He hit me with a hammer / God told him I could take the pain!" knows how to walk the thin line with polish. He's the high school cool cat cut-up no one was sure would come to any good but couldn't stay away from. Chuck Mead's just as cynical in a rockabilly context, with his I Wish It Was Friday. Then there's Kevin Gordon's Joe Cockery tang in Black Dog, which steps up to its plateau and stays there, culminating in a duel with searing lead guitar lines before falling back to a calm that climbs back up again and again, not content to rest.
Jon Byrd hits a Poco / Nitty Gritty / Roger McGuinn vibe in Reputation, twangy and cowpokish as a Texas afternoon, while Taylor Bates walks into a Townes van Zanty country-folk zone in Midnight Bruiser. As the CD's title infers, all these cats and kitties are from the wrong side of the tracks, not the west side's posh and settled finery. Hell, more than one of 'em barely got back up off the floor, defiantly extemporizing from the side of the road, sometimes the gutter. And if you feel you need more, and let me assure you that you do, hop on over to the review of Eric Brace & Last Train Home's EP Six Songs and indulge. He's been Red Beet up, too, and quite happy about it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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