Flyinshoes Review

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Rob Ellen          

Babajack are a three piece band from Malvern with a raw acoustic sound rooted in early blues. Recorded pretty much “as live” in the studio, Rooster is their third album and is probably the most enjoyable UK blues album that I’ve heard in a while. I have to enter a caveat here because they clearly don’t want to describe themselves as a blues band, having a style that reaches out in folkier directions, but there is no doubt that blues is at the core of what they do. When they list their heroes as Son House, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson, you’ll get the idea of what they’re about.

           That’s the roots, but these guys want to make new music, so, with only a couple of exceptions, these are all new songs, touching everything from good love gone bad to last summer’s rioting. The original band members are Trevor Steger on guitars and harmonica, and Becky Tate on African drum, cahon (a kind of tea chest drum slapped with the hands) and lead vocals. They have now been joined by Marc Miletitch on stand-up bass; he has a varied musical background, including classical music, and between these three there is plenty of scope to take their music in surprising directions.

            The ability of these guys to make a raw, urgent sound grabs the attention from the off. The Money’s All Gone, a song for our times if ever there was one, opens the album with infectious energy – rapid slapping of the drum is matched by some great harmonica blowing and slide guitar work that threatens to set the instrument on fire. Keeping the song distilled down to a simple message works wonders; you pick up the thread of the song quickly and then just thrill to the groove. They repeat the success of this song with a couple of others that drive along just as infectiously, with the addition that Skin and Bone, for example, features a section in the middle that picks up on Eastern European and African sounds. It all fits wonderfully, vaguely reminiscent of the way Page and Plant successfully wove North African sounds into their back catalogue on No Quarter.

            A song about an exiled mother, struggling to look after her child, shows Babajack in a completely different light. The lyric tells a more complete story and the sound is gentler, more pastoral, with Marc Miletitch’s bass – both plucked and bowed if I’m not mistaken – well to the fore in laying down a warm sound. Elsewhere, they nicely undermine any tendency to take the blues too seriously by writing a song (Rooster Blues) about how you wake up one morning…and the blues just refuse to come. All in all, there’s a lot to enjoy on this album, which is a whole lot fresher and more inventive than a lot of the competition about at the moment. And, for added novelty, there’s the very fine sound made by Trevor Steger’s self-built winebox guitars to investigate. Quite a package, really.

John Davy

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

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December 2018
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JD McPherson
61 pts.
New West Records
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Lonely Sounds Records
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Nine Mile Records
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
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16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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