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musical career. When not gigging, Steve travels around

with his wife and their cat in a riverboat and the words of the opening track I Like The Birds convey just that kind of lifestyle and a less than gregarious character. The boat had a further role in this album; it was the mode of transport for the launch tour from Bath to London. Two songs describe Steve’s formative years: Littlehampton reminds us of the town that Morrissey urged to be closed down, and at the other end of the county Arundel Castle, around where the Thompson family spent their summer holidays. The Farm We’ll Never Have is more wistful on the subject of self-sufficiency and getting away from it all; with London folk singer Josienne Clarke dueting on the track. Thompson seems fairly unstructured

in his approach to writing, indeed one of the less interesting songs here, the free thinking Dust reflects the power of the songwriter in being able to transmit their random thoughts, but on this occasion I for one am just not too interested in what he’s thinking about whilst waiting for a plane at Heathrow to take him to New York. However that journey provided the inspiration for probably the best song on the album No Net Curtains In New York—a graphic illustration of life in the raw. There are benefits in looking this song up on YouTube. Steve shot the video himself on an iPad and mostly from the back of a taxi going through Brooklyn. The English capital gets two songs: Old Grey London on how the place has changed and not for the better, as well as Canary—a fearsome demolition of the changes wrought in a certain area of town and working culture in the financial centre. A lot of ground is covered on this album and RAMBLE is an apt title. Paul Collins

The Curst Sons THE SNAKE AND THE MONEY JAR Curst Mountain HHHI Classic hillbilly sounds with plenty of oomph Brighton’s Curst Sons’ fifth album takes its

Americana seriously, but not too seriously. The trio’s trademark old-time hillbilly sound is a little dirtier this time out; a little closer to the eclecticism of Groanbox and more in your face and all the better for it. They’ve also managed to capture some of the storm

90 Maverick

they kick up live; a nice loose, ‘just play the music and don’t worry about anything else’ feel to the album. There are a few nods to other tunes

and genres—Carrie recalls the folk classic Matty Groves for instance—but in the main this is straight ahead Americana without unnecessary bells and whistles. Bad Day is probably the jauntiest and entertaining story of a serial killer that you’ll ever hear, whilst the contemporary apocalypse warning Shiny Shiny urges focus on the real rather than the unnecessary. Other warning songs, as one might call them, like Mama Gone—which calls out the selfish—are balanced by sweet and uncomplicated love songs like Daisy and indeed, there’s a nice balance across the whole album. The trio’s playing is easy on the ear too; nothing unnecessarily flash but nonetheless immaculate and with a great groove. The Curst Sons are clearly in thrall to this

style of American music and effectively this album is a tribute (in the best possible sense) to it. A little more of a British feel or themselves in the mix might improve things, but this is still great music and a fine album. Jeremy Searle

The Dreaming Spires BROTHERS IN BROOKLYN Clubhouse Records: CRUK0010CD HHI Melodic reincarnation of the 1960s BROTHERS IN BROOKLYN is the debut album

from The Dreaming Spires, comprised of brothers, Robin and Joe Bennett—ex- members of Danny and The Champions of The World and Goldrush. I can only assume that the new band’s name came with a little help from the surroundings of their base camp in Oxford. However, they give the game away with their true yearnings with the title song, which comes up mid-way through this eleven track album. It’s a really catchy number, during which they travel back a few years to when their musical sound was more appreciated than it’s ever likely to be in today’s market. The Bennetts are heavily into the country-rock genre of Gram Parsons and The Byrds and— very creditably eschewing any attempt to sound artificially modern—they stick to what they know and love. The opening chords

of the first track Singing Sin City sounded as though they were going to break into Mr Tambourine Man instead of what I was expecting and ultimately got; a homily to the well known Parsons’ song. I really liked the put down aspects of

Not Every Song From The Sixties Is A Classic and Cathie, which tells of a talented singer who made her way after arriving in the world with next to nothing. Everything All Of The Time has an amusing and clever lyric referring to an ever so materially demanding life partner, whilst Laughing And Dancing is another ingenious song, this time about the experience of falling in love. They seem to be aiming for the nostalgia market with a simultaneous release on CD and vinyl and this album will strike a chord or two with those (like me) who love the music of Gram Parsons. The reminiscence extends to the sleeve artwork, which features a repeating hand drawn motif of a 1960s stretch limousine, evoking more memories of the era. A further plus point is the photo montage, full lyrics to all songs with the novel addition of key changes being noted. This album leaves a good impression; a taster for the real thing and the Bennetts are clearly gifted songwriters. However, your initial interest is likely to fade after a couple of plays and if you want to hear this sound, you will revert to the genuine article by digging out your old Parsons, Byrds and Neil Young albums. Paul Collins www.the

Haley Sisters WHEN I REACH THE PLACE I’M GOING Comet Records CD005

HHHHI Quality music from the Yorkshire siblings who deserve wider recognition from the music industry Jo-Ann and Becky Haley are without

question the finest female British country vocalists. If they were American they would have been major stars years ago, but sadly country music in Britain is treated shabbily by the UK music industry. To a certain extent this is understandable when you witness the current state of the British country music scene. A lack of professionalism, very little originality and a plethora of acts going the rounds that should never have been allowed near a stage. And the sad thing is that many of

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