Prosecco Socialist - 'Songs From Behind Bars'

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Prosecco Socialist - 'Songs From Behind Bars'

This is personal, frequently beautiful music of poppies among the paving stones and daisies in the dirt.

I generally agree with the Beautiful South on most things, from their acerbic humour and Northern outlook to their beautifully bruised music. We generally think of Paul Heaton when we speak of that band, unsurprisingly, but the silence from those other talents has been broken by this collection of cracked Country tunes by singer/guitarist Dave Rotheray and local Hull face Mike Greaves; this is their humanity and spending a little time with this personal and untrammelled music will convince you of that.

It's a singular collection of gentle music that pulls you into its world so easily. 'The Man Who Faked His Own Life' is a testament to their diffidence; a folky and gentle tune with nice double bass touches and a calm piano that is sung by Greaves, and a lovely, grizzled job he does of it too. There's a conversational Country feel here as well, 'This Dog's Just For Christmas (Not For Life)' rolls along beautifully with some pickled onion Monster Munch included as Greaves soars with Kirsty McColl soundalike Eleanor McEvoy.

However, it's not all downbeat maudlin Mondays as they rise to Country Rock with an almost hidden organ on 'Flowers On The Stream' and the brass band swaying behind 'The Night May Still Be Young (But I Am Not)' compliments McEvoy's heartfelt emotion so well, while 'That's Just For The Tourists' is, at least, a downbeat defiance of strength together against those who simply don't know.

This is the world of "a pound shop with a sale on" and "foreigners you can pin the blame on"; you can say "Ooh, there's a lot of drinking, isn't there?" Yes, there is but think why. Look at the world, look at the place and look at the expectations, and then think again. Of course, that's in a Country and Folk tradition, and it does conjure up a lovely hybrid of the two; this is personal, frequently beautiful music of poppies among the paving stones and daisies in the dirt. It's cracked redemption, but it's still redemption...

Steve Swift

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