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DONALD BYRON WHEATLEY —MOONDOGS AND MAD DOGS (Maiden Voyage)

 

www.maidenvoyage.net

Immediately I placed this cd on my player I was energised by Donald Byron Wheatley’s music. Fuelled by a rock solid rhythm section, piano, swirling organ, lead guitar and pedal steel guitar (BJ Cole), there is a buzz throughout. On welding slices of 1970s sounds of The Band, Bob Dylan and the rock he comes up with a tapestry enriched in the above textures and more. Maiden Voyage label boss Danny (Danny And The Champions) has members of his band, Chris Clarke (the album was recorded at his Reservoir Studios), Steve Brookes, Andy Fairclough and harmony vocalist Siobhan Parr (a recording act in her own right) all pitch in. 

 

“Ten Dollar Jenny” has all the trappings of the aforementioned Dylan, his hero, alongside The Band and music of the era. One of Dylan's finest periods I hasten to add, but there is more to the London-born act. Making a late venture into recorded music, he more than simply combines sounds from the past as he also comes through strong with “When The Rain Comes”; a piece of writing and music Nick Lowe might have done! Warmed in Cole’s finest tones it is a most fine effort. “The Lonesome Carol Of Big Don” and “Hand Me Down Leopard Skin Hat” also owe much to Dylan. Propelled, feverishly, as much of his 1970s work was as lyrics came at a rapid pace and the songs seemed endless, and they were good too. As is the case here with Wheatley. 

 

Mellow, with hints of John Lennon and George Harrison “Nothing” is warmed in keyboards and shuffling rhythm to gently wash over the listener. On bringing a little barroom ragtime-esque New Orleans feel to the album, “Swaley Howell” adds some well-timed versatility. “Greenwich Village Blues” likewise offers something different as he takes a trip across the pond to New York on recalling the days of a bygone era. He pulls it off superbly. The folk bards of the 1960s big folk scare would, if still around (some of course are) be duly proud of his sterling effort.  

 

Title-track “Moondogs And Mad Dogs” closes up shop, and with it of a similar heartbeat to Dylan he once again draws from the leader as with much energy rock and folk meet. The swirling organ and pedal steel have a field day without eroding the value of Wheatley’s vocals, and here lies one of the secrets of the recording, the ever tasty production! 

 

                                                 Maurice Hope  

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
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Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
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Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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