Flyinshoes Review

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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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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
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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
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MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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