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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hurray for the Riff Raff - Ramblin' Round, 31 Mar 2014
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Small Town Heroes [VINYL] (Vinyl)
On the surface this all seems rather unlikely. At the heart of Hurray for the Riff Raff is the figure of Alynda Lee Segarra a Bronx born Puerto Rican and veteran of the New York punk scene. When this music did not answer her calling she cut loose at the age of 17 to travel the US as an itinerant street musician and included some train hopping to boot. It appears that on this journey an epiphany occurred and into her veins was transplanted the blood of Guthrie, Seeger and the Stanley Brothers. “Small Town Heroes” is a roots album par excellence and if you like Lucinda Williams, Kathleen Edwards and particularly Gillian Welch you are in for a treat

For this fifth album Segarra and her fiddle player Yosi Perlstein have decamped to New Orleans and pulled in a cast of local musicians. It gives the album a nice Cajun Twist exhibited on the sprightly traditional sounding opener “Blue Ridge Mountain”. The slow blues of “Crash on the highway” sounds timeless but Segarra musical preoccupations go beyond the back porch. These are songs here that abhor violence, touch on feminism and seek to up date old country themes for the age of the Internet

The funky “No one Else” has a old rock n roll feel in terms of its shuffling rhythms and sassy vocal from Segarra. Even better is “St Roch Blues” where she is accompanied by a highly strung electric guitar for the first part of the song in a sort of twisted acappella as she warns you not to go down to New Orleans “as bullets are flying”. The short but brilliant “Body electric” is a old style murder ballad, which Nick Cave would be proud of; whilst the poignant “Levon’s Dream” is a little gem especially when she intones the opening lines “If Levon would play in the night dear/ Would you come back to my heart”. The gentle strum of “The New SF Bay Blues” almost floats above the album whilst the brilliant closer “Forever is just a day” is a high lament infused with a achingly slow fiddle and explicitly demonstrates Segarra’s great story telling talents.

The trick behind this excellent album is to look beyond what can seem like austere traditionalism and recognise an artist who is actively seeking to push forward a genre that has many miles left in its tank. Like Gillian Welch she does not perfectly comply with the “Ideal type” for this rootsy folk music, either in terms of background or attitude, yet as with the former her music fits the genre like a glove. “Small Town Heroes” is a sort of musical “Last Picture Show” an album full of images that strike deep into the American psyche and delivers music out of the top drawer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves recognition., 26 April 2014
By 
Roger J. Pettitt (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Third album I have bought by Hurray for the Riff Raff. The other two were excellent but this ones just goes up another notch. Think Gillian Welch without the David Rawlings guitar.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic slice of modern day Americana, 5 April 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Uncut has led me to another great modern day Americana album, along with Simone Felice's latest album (I am hoping The Delines album also matches up to the one track I've heard so far). Small Town Heroes features some sublime playing, instrumentation (especially on fiddle and harmonica) and harmony singing. There's a great twist on the murder ballad genre with the lyrics exploring how women are usually the victims in these songs. This surely has to be a contender for quite a few music prizes come the end of the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small town Heroes excels expectaions, 31 July 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Excellent album I love every song,
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Bought after reading excellent reviews in local and the national press.Terrific voice. Great arrangements. Something different. Delighted with this discovery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars far from riff raff!, 3 Sep 2014
By 
Mr. C. Lloyd (treherbert/rhondda valley) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
well worth it! really good album
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She is soooo good!!, 24 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Great voice and interesting lyrics combined with good tunes and rich instrumentation.Whats not to like!!Will keep an eye on her progress
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Americana at its best, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (MP3 Download)
A variety of good songs excellent singing and musicianship An all round feelgood experience Watch them on Jools on U tube
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (Audio CD)
Great song-writing. I think the "body electric" is one of the best songs I have hear for years, and the rest are not far behind. HRFTRR is rapidly becoming one of my favourite bands.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Small Town Heroes (MP3 Download)
I saw this band on Jools Holland, and have totally got into them. I recommend them to you. They sound totally fresh and traditional at the same time.
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Small Town Heroes [VINYL]
Small Town Heroes [VINYL] by Hurray For The Riff Raff (Vinyl - 2014)
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