By North South Divide
When you have songs that are worth writing, a gift for melody, and a workmate who can do rich musical arrangements, you do the obvious thing. You make a cracking good album of very good songs.
And then you think, what now? The music industry is shot to pieces, CDs are sold in supermarket boxfuls to people who think that David Grey does challenging music. A&R people have sacrificed their brains to ego and cocaine and the press have walled themselves in behind papier mache barricades made from press releases. And you can't even pretend to be in your late teens.
But this CD has a story. The story will gradually leak out and the audience will come together. Not in Joseph's Well, unless it's the Sunday acoustic night. Not in the Cockpit. No, never in the Cockpit. But at the Wardrobe, on Bob Harris, on Radio 4, on daytime TV, at special personal appearance events and jazz nights, in Jumbo Records. Here and there. These are new times.
The songs are written by Dave Longworth and the arrangements are done by Dwayne Conway. Essentially, it's voice, acoustic guitar and complex melody plus sensitive and skilful arrangements. They're true life snapshot songs from rich and deeply involved years. Longworth is a medical man, with a past in Third World aid and a present in Yorkshire. Conway is the gifted workmate with a talent for music and a recent resettlement in the same county. He adds bass and any kind of extra noise that keyboards can do.
I write "the songs", as if they were just the same old doggerel with standard half arsed warbling. Bugger that. Just listen to "Family History". Its sweet tune and nudging, beguiling chord sequence decorate but don't disguise three real generations of avoidance, self loathing and denial. It's emotionally rich stuff with a belt for anyone, of any age, with the maturity to know where it comes from. The opener, "What Do You Take Me For?" is a huge sweeping anthem with big drums and strings. "Walking with Ruth" is a magnificent piece of non romantic romance for a real woman.
The production is effortlessly unfussy and everything is played well within the duo's accomplished musical reach. There is some lovely fluid guitar on "Like This" - the sort that makes me go straight over for the old case, get out the acoustic and grin my way through some open ended solo runs.
Top song? "Japanese". Searing violin and a Bruce Springsteen chorus "My blood is your blood, take it any time you like".
The exact opposite of les Flames! and just as thoroughly authentic.