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VINE VOICEon 18 May 2007
Not perhaps up to the standard of Up on the Lowdown, Small Revelations or Live as I'll Ever Be but with a number of classic smither songs that still feature in his live set - Killing the Blues, Rock n Roll Doctor, Memphis in the Meantime and (my favourite) The Devil's Real. Smither's voice isn't quite the deep growl he gets nowadays but it still has that trademark tom waits' directness and ironic country blues yodel that's perfect for his brand of homespun wisdom and winsomeness. The lyrics are brilliant as ever - Happier Blue, Time to Spend display the kind of precise rhythms and clever rhymes of a true craftsman. On the covers he does a great job on Lowell George's Doctor, Hiatt's Memphis and JJ Cales's Magnolia (he should do more of JJ's songs). The saxophone works really well on Magnolia - not so well on some of the others, similarly Robin Batteau's fiddle (although very well played) doesn't blend well (apart from Devil's Real). So, a few weaknesses in arrangement and production, and some inconsistency in quality of material, but a great album by a national treasure.
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on 26 November 2012
I have finally got round to working my way through my CD collection so that I can either finish my digitising project or else consign them to the loft pending a boot sale. This was one of my first CD's and it has not aged at all - musically that is. Fresh acoustic guitar, simple productions and a slight blueish tone to it all. Has made me look up the rest of his collection and of course make sure I keep this one on my master files. A recommended listen
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