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A London pub-rock vibe meets country meets classic New York pop/soul. It’s all right here on the irresistible new album from Danny (sometimes known as Danny George Wilson) & The Champions of the World. There’s a deep romantic nostalgia going on here as Danny and his band mates recall a whole slew of great music dating from the late 50’s through to the mid 70’s. There’s an individual soulfulness to Danny’s voice that can put you in mind of Neil Young ([Never Stop Building] That Old Space Rocket), Desire-era Bob Dylan (Darlin’ Won’t You Come In From The Cold) and anyone from Dion DiMucci through Willy deVille to Wilson Pickett (every other track).
Turn this up loud, surrender yourself to the sound and you’ll soon stop caring who it sounds like because it’s all just hugely enjoyable retro-pop. The Champions of the World have a settled lineup these days (Danny on acoustic guitar, Chris Clarke on bass, Paul Lush on guitar, Steve Brookes on drums and Geoff Widdowson on sax and organ), but this recording saw them invite old bandmates and other pals into the studio. When you hear the banjo and mandolin trickling along to Breakin’ Out you’ll feel the spirit of Ronnie Lane is alive and well, whilst Melvin Duffy’s beautiful pedal steel playing is frequently the strongest thread, pulling it all together. The sound is cheerfully loose, in the best possible way; Danny’s singing is the other strong thread – he has a voice to carry you off on a daydream – but mostly this feels as relaxed and comfortable as a favourite old coat, something to keep you feeling warm and happy as the autumn days creep in.
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