Florence Joelle / Paul-Ronney Angel, The Country Soul Sessions, The Spice of Life, Soho ***1/2
With support by the boisterous outlaw honky tonk Sambuca swilling presence of singer, guitarist, blues harpist, whistler Paul-Ronney Angel a set highlight of which was fabulous drinking song 'Wild Turkey and Lemonade' recently a duo with Linda …
Published: 4 Dec 2022.Updated: 59 days.
With support by the boisterous outlaw honky tonk Sambuca swilling presence of singer, guitarist, blues harpist, whistler Paul-Ronney Angel a set highlight of which was fabulous drinking song 'Wild Turkey and Lemonade' recently a duo with Linda Gail Lewis, sister of the late Jerry Lee Lewis, ''the killer'', Florence Joelle later in the second set came into her own sporting a vintage look tiara and red dress get-up on a gleeful set whether in French or English best of all the more Eartha Kitt-like the singer and blues harpist became. Dancers also responded eagerly especially to the singer's '29 Bus Blues' circa Stealing Flowers.
Angel was also joined by drummer Gary Voodoo and dueted with Florence later. In the Joelle band Rory More playing a Viscount Hammond-sounding organ was excellent especially the more Georgie Fame-like he became. Ian Marcus on tenor sax and flute was raucous when needed against steady as a rock drum backing. Photos: marlbank
Let Spin The Yard Manchester, Monday.
Mark Nightingale Alan Barnes Quintet The Stage Door Southampton, Tuesday.
The Puppini Sisters Harbourside Bristol, Wednesday.
China Moses Ronnie Scott's Soho, Thursday.
BadBadNotGood 02 Institute …
In the east end recently jamming at the Vortex long time JD Allen followers will know after a few listens or pretty much immediately that the Detroit born tenorist's Americana Vol 2 is far better than Queen City not that that record was at all shabby because among other reasons of the stop the traffic instrumental treatment on the new 'un of the Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker song of disappointed love 'You Don't Know Me' the title track synonymous with Ray Charles and which works so well.
The JD Allen approach is to converse with the double bass of Gregg August most here and in lapidary lines with guitar boffin Charlie Hunter. And the approach is compelling.
Critics might cavil at the relatively limited palette of the format and that is a reasonable point. But the rebuttal is found in the sequencing and the way the album becomes bluesier the more you journey with it. Bookended by 'Up South' and 'Down South', overall the message music is however quietly stated devastatingly-political aimed through a humane lens the end result a transcendence above the impossibility of this often unjust world.
The best bits are often outrageously slow and laidback while 'Irene' (Mother)' coming before the end is different and so conversational. JD, August, Hunter and the great drummer Rudy Royston (often quite Rod Youngs-like especially on 'Up South') know how to carve out firm roles for themselves and send a message to you that you can immediately absorb.
'The Battle of Blair Mountain' which references a huge labour uprising in Logan County, West Virginia during the early 20th century ''coal wars'' is a scintillating highlight where the fabric of the structures is newly dug out by Hunter. Royston's deft drum rolls provide a serious moment at the beginning of 'A Mouthful of Forevers' underpinned by August's arco line and JD's most serious statement of the whole album.
Royston is the bridge to Bill Frisell's Americana explorations in the same idiom whether overt or not which this album is in solidarity with but stands apart from authorial Friselliana given Allen's own unique vision as a leader. Often moving and deep there is lots of joyful, virtuosic playing too and in this you would be hard pressed to find a better tenor saxophonist anywhere these days - old news but worth repeating - than Allen who refuses to spray the record with superfluous notes, only what are needed.
There isn't time to go into all the tracks. JD, who turns 50 on the 11th, is Rollins-like frequently but without any direct Caribbean motific quoting or gracenotes in his sound more in terms of statesman-like composure. But also like Rollins when he keeps it simple there is a lot of resource even when everything seems stripped down. Certainly all in all JD's best album since his classic Bloom (2014).
JD appears at the Boulevard with Welsh wiz Andy Davies.