After returning from the Reading festival I collasped upon my bed and weakly looked around me. In the corner of my room, at the front of my Vinyl collection was the cover of this album - finally - I knew why they where looking so miserable. Soaked, muddy, wet and bearded the photograph perfectly captures the tiredness and the sense of adventure which constitutes the unequal spirit of this album. 'Across The Great Divide' is as good an opening track as there ever was. Whilst it's tempting to laugh at the track as sounding like the theme tune to an American sit-com. the lyrics are equally self-depreciating and humorous. Witness the singer's nervousness as he shakyly asks - '...tell me hun, what you done, with the gun'! Rag Mama Rag must surely be in line for a rap sample. sooner or later!. The violins, harsh and abrasive, immediately lead you into its story - sleeping bags, turn-offs, and bad comedians.
Up On Creeky Creak is classic music, the Night they Drove Old Dixie Down - moves the listener, as a story of sorrow and a chronical of a time that has clearly past. What makes this album great is both its undeniable sense of fun - its jaunty 'rag' rythms, and the over-riding sense of sorrow. Whispering Pines encapsulates this perfecly. The music on everytrack effortlessly complements the changing lyrical moods. Whispering Pine's eriee organ surrounds the track, dronwing the singer's longing - 'Standing by the well, wishing for the rain...' The Band on, 'The Band', succeed in covering a massive range of musical styles and emotions - a faculty which no doubt leads to comparisons with the Beta Band et al. What really moves the listener though is the stark simplicity, and the chance to witness stories of life and stories of defeat. Stories based in the reality of the American South and the univerisal verities of the human soul.
23 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?