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www.spikeflynn.com

Australian Spike Flynn is an unusual debutant into the music business. It seems he's been playing music and writing songs all his life but it's only now, in his fifties, that things have come together enough for him to have these songs recorded. In all these years, it's clear from his subject matter that he's been trucking round the rougher edges of life. His songs deal with the hard times that can come to anybody, with people (ex-girlfriends in particular) who don't seem to have worked out how to be happy, with the attractions of the bottle or of ditching this town for the next one down the line. They are songs that could have been written at any time in the last century or so and certainly could have been written about the wide open spaces and pitiless economic forces of America in 1880 or 1930 rather than Spike's own experiences in the New South Wales of the last forty years or so.

 

      Appropriately for a man who writes about the hard side of life, Spike's music is rooted in the blues. However, he's an inate storyteller, too, so there's a bit of country and folk style coming through; the title track itself is something of an epic that manages to combine these approaches as Spike's poetic lyric takes a long amble through the vale of tears we can all find ourselves in. At times like this, he says, we just need someone to lean on who'll tell us it's alright and then their love will see us through. His lyric is more spoken than sung against a scuffed, slow blues that develops jazzy overtones; it's pretty downbeat, as if Spike's trying to convince himself that "it's alright", as much as us.

 

      Track 2, Falling Rain Blues, is probably as close as this album gets to an unadorned blues. The lyric is kept short and to the point and the atmosphere makes it first cousin to Neil Young's On The Beach to my ears - though not quite so bleak.  Overall these nine songs are pretty downbeat and Spike doesn't lighten up much but then maybe he doesn't reckon he's seen much to lighten up about.  However, there's some nicely mordant humour on Falling In Love ( Out Of Self Defense) and a gently philosophical shrug of the shoulders encapsulated in song on That's The Way It Goes - which sounds pretty much like John Prine, enough to make you think he might be one of Spike's musical heroes.

 

        For all that his focus is on the downbeat, the message that Spike seeks to bring us in distilling his experience is that we're all in it together; there's no bitterness and recrimination here, just a reiterated wish that we all find our way to good, or better, times. It's all there in the last verse of That's The Way It Goes :

"Do the best that you can, be true to love and your fellow man

 Always try to lend a helping hand - that's the way it goes".

 

John Davy

 


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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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