Flyinshoes Review

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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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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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