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   Blame Sally are a quartet of singer-songwriters from San Francisco whose girl band side project has been steadily gathering a head of steam over the dozen years of their collaboration, resulting in a recent lucrative record deal and, this autumn, their first visit as a band to the UK. A rock band with folk/acoustic leanings, they cover a fair amount of musical ground with songs like Bird in Hand and Orange at the gently (and beautifully) acoustic end of their spectrum, and rousing, danceable rock numbers like Living Without You at the noisier end. This latter song sounds pretty much like Roxette to me and I guess Blame Sally’s chameleon qualities have precluded them having a strong identity of their own, to my ears at least. On this live album they cover Fleetwood Mac’s Never Going Back Again, a song which fits them like a glove and maybe epitomises that dual folk/rock sound that is their natural metier. It’s a really good version of the song, and perhaps it’s telling that it neither subtracts from, nor adds to, memories of the original.

           Live at KVIE Studios was recorded last winter as part of a fundraising effort for the Public Broadcasting Service and half of this set is lifted from their most recent studio album, Speeding Ticket and a Valentine. The four women (Pam Delgado, Renee Harcourt, Jeri Jones and Monica Pasqual) are joined by their regular bassist, Rob Strom. Collectively they’re as tight as you could hope a rock band to be and with the lead vocals swapped around a bit, there is plenty of variation in the sound to enjoy. The women give strong support to each other on backing vocals and, most of all, they play with a relish and enjoyment that is infectious and inclusive. They close the album with a cover of Chain of Fools, which takes them outside their natural territory, I think. It doesn’t sound properly worked out to me and certainly doesn’t compare well with the widescreen grandeur of Big, Big Bed or the light touch that they bring to Bird in Hand. For the most part, though, these gals are hugely entertaining – value for money, as one of my friends’ highest compliments would have it.

John Davy

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July 2018
1
American Aquarium
93 pts.
Things Change
New West
BK,TJ,JB
2
Gretchen Peters
56 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
ML,GF
3
Patrick Sweany
51 pts.
Ancient Noise
Nine Mile Records
FC,RK,BM,CVL,TK
4
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
47 pts.
Downey To Lubbock
Yep Roc
SP,JBO,JJC
5
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
34 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
 
6
Ry Cooder
33 pts.
The Prodigal Son
Perro Verde Records
DH
7
Jenny van West
32 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
RST,NC
8
Brooks Williams
30 pts.
Lucky Star
Red Guitar Blue Music
 
9
Levi Parham
29 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
 
10
I See Hawks in LA
26 pts.
Live and Never Learn
Western Seed Records
WR
11
Rory Block
25 pts.
A Woman's Soul
Stoneyplain Records
MB,AL
12
Phil Cook
24 pts.
People Are My Drug
Thirty Tigers
LK,JD
13
Mike Aiken
23 pts.
Wayward Troubadour
Northwind Records
BP
14
Karen Jonas
22 pts.
Butter
Independent
HVB
15
Buckley
21 pts.
Las Cruzes
Rum Bar Records
 
 
John Prine
21 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
 
17
Neko Case
20 pts.
Hell-on
Anti Epitha
MW
 
Sam Lewis
20 pts.
Loversity
Loversity Records
HDB
 
Verbraak Van Bijnen
20 pts.
Endless Road
CRS
HH,TV
20
Jesse Dayton
19 pts.
The Outsider
Blue Elan
LM,SZ
21
Dieter van der Westen Band
18 pts.
Me and You
Independent
 
 
Hadley McCall Thackston
18 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
CRS
 
Willie Nelson
18 pts.
Last Man Standing
Legacy
 
24
Carter Sampson
17 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
 
Tami Neilson
17 pts.
SassaFrass!
Outside Music

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