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The Lazybirds have now been going for 15 years and hail from North Carolina, a State that has a long tradition of string band music and who can count on The Old Crow Medicine Show as fans among a host more bands and like-minded musicians.
In combining mountain folk country, blues, jazz and ragtime the band of Andy Christopher to whom the album is dedicated after he suffered a heart attack that left him in wheelchair plus James T. Browne, Jay Brown, Mitchell Johnson and Alfred Michels they deliver a sparkling mixture of country blues, jazz, ragtime, folk and bluegrass.
In seamless fashion the boys pluck out of the sky a collection of traditional songs to go with sterling covers of Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’, Sly Stone’s ‘Life’ (the least impressive of them all) and The Slickers’ ‘Johnny Too Bad’. What an innovative job they do on the song —as kazoo, harmonica etc are superbly utilised. Brown, who performs lead on the Dylan evergreen also donates his own song, the title-cut ‘Broken Wing’ as the band’s one and only original song. An intelligent affair it goes a long way to help underline the band’s all round dexterity as guitar, harmonica, bass fiddle, tenor guitar, drums and fine vocal harmonies. The song speak of how things don’t feel right with Andy no longer playing with them on stage, as it likens him to a bird with a broken wing. Of how there’s a hole where his banjo should be.
Just how great an influence he is with the band can be heard through the banjo he contributes on the record. While Michels’ fiddle coupled with the strong vocal partnership of Brown (lead) and the harmony vocals of Browne and rousing harmonica of the lead act and slap bass and guitar play the hell out of ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’. Bill Monroe would like what they have done to his song. I am sure of that.
There are other songs of note, too. Blues gem ‘Good Morning Blues’ on given an inspired, hard driven acoustic treatment swings merrily again as the boys bring a feel not dissimilar to Canned Heat to the table. ‘Travelin’ Man’ with smart guitar picking and wonderful fiddle, Brown’s easy on the ear lead vocals and a good ol’ rambling feel music of the roving kind steeped in more shades than hard wood trees in autumn the unit produce an album full of welcome surprises. Upbeat funky blues tune ‘Can’t Call Her Sugar’ like with ‘Honky Tonkin’ Days’ that has Andy on both banjo and lead vocals bring the listener top class entertainment.
Could we see them over here in the near future I ask. For more details you had best watch this space.
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