Flyinshoes Review

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DAVID RAWLINGS —POOR DAVID’S ALMANACK (Acony Records)

 

www.davidrawlingsmusic.com

 

Here we have the third album release by David Rawlings under his own name to go with five studio records with his musical and otherwise partner, Gillian Welch. The mercurial all-rounder has a wealth of talent accompany him on the record. To the degree it could just as easily and arguably have been better entitled ‘David Rawlings & Friends’, such the generosity of the man he allows them considerable room to perform. His most recent recordings include his albums as the David Rawlings Machine, Nashville Obsolete (2015) and A Friend of A Friend (2011), plus with Welch  Grammy-Nominated The Harrow And The Harvest (2011).

 

Talking of those friends, Rawlings not only has regular tour partners Welch (vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, bass, bongos and hands and feet on “Money Is The Meat In The Coconut”), Willie Watson (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Brittany Haas (fiddle) but also Paul Kowert (bass) and Old Crow Medicine Show acts Ketch Secor (bass, vocals, fiddle) and Critter Fuqua (vocals on “Good God A Woman”), Austin Hoke (musical saw on “Yup”) and on two tracks Taylor (organ) and Griffin Goldsmith (drums) of Dawes, plus Billy Thomas (drums) on the opening track “Midnight Train” join in the fun.

 

Listening to the album it sounds like it was made in a homely environment. One where the players dropped by at random, Rawlings version of Dylan - The Band’s The Basement Tapes? To the melody of “Got Stripes” Rawlings and the gang breeze through “God Got A Woman”. I love the feel the organ and close harmonies generate. A rural environment very much comes to mind as Rawlings and the players reel off a bunch of inspired back porch and woods-like songs as in “Yup”; and the mountain folk tale of “Lindsey Button”, wrapped in soothing tones it sounds like a song found in an old attic. Marked by strong harmony vocals and spare interwoven instrumental work it has to be one of the most compelling cuts on the record. 

 

On throwing caution to the wind the ‘band’ kick up a dust storm on arguably the best song on the record “Come On Over My House” it is reminiscent of a good ol’ fashioned hoe-down favourite. The harmonies and fiddle (Haas) warmed my heart greatly. Closely followed in the popularity stakes you also have the urgent paced “Midnight Train” (nicely marked by typical Rawlings’ guitar work) and quirky little tune “Money Is The Meat In The Coconut”, and with it plied in banjo, fiddle and vocals (Rawlings, Watson, Welch) it hits the spot. While with Rawlings wanting to break down fences he powers through with “Cumberland Gap”. “Airplane” has a great deal of the music to it as you would expect from a Welch and Rawlings; and you can also say the same about “Put ‘Em Up Solid” as the instrumental side of things veers in that direction. The latter has Rawlings play harmonium and it is most effective.      

 

Recorded over a week at Nashville’s Woodland Sound Studios the record has a feel not unlike what you might expect from one of Levon Helm’s latter-day recordings, such the loose, roots feel. On utilising electric guitar Rawlings is found prising his own musical boundaries, and though still raw-boned “Guitar Man” turns over the ground impressively. Of the songs written by Rawlings (5tracks) and co-writes with Welch he explains in the liner work that they are traditional stories and songs were used as the basis for several songs in this collection. These are our versions, feel free to create your own.

 

                                                            Maurice Hope

 

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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