Friday, August 7, 2009

Her Star Is Rising

BETT PADGETT – “My Shooting Star” CD ’09 (Ceilidhe, US) – I’ve got to say, right from the beginning, that it takes some serious gusto to open a CD of otherwise original music with a cover of an iconic piece like “Zip Ah Dee Do Dah.” Yes, that one. The 1945 classic from Disney’s “Song Of The South.” Here are some of the people who recorded versions of this song previously: Connie Francis, Doris Day, The Hollies, Louis Armstrong, The Dave Clark Five, The Jackson 5, …. You get the idea. That all being said, it’s without the least bit of hesitation that I find this 2009 version by North Carolina’s BETT PADGETT to be one of the most vibrant & infectious readings I’ve ever heard. When she gets to the “ev’rything is satisfactual” part, only a dead man would not be singing along. And yet, I’m not surprised one bit. Having been a huge fan of BETT’s folk music over a course of several albums before this one, I’m here to tell you something: this lady is confidence, honesty and pure emotion personified. And we’re not even talking about the fact that she plays a mean acoustic guitar, has a riveting voice and can spin a helluva yarn all the while. You don’t have to go far into this disc to hear what I’m talking about. Right on the heels of “Zip…” is “When The Sky Comes Out” and we’re talking about a vocal presence that’s right up there with Joni Mitchell on “Blue.” But “My Shooting Star” is hardly front-loaded…it’s purely LOADED, from pillar to post, with one fantastic songsmith nugget after another. It’s stripped-down music, no doubt, again mostly just vocals and guitar, sometimes accompanied by Dave Groening’s percussion and the honesty is palpable and vibrant. I love the emotional detail in numbers like “The Mailbox On Bird Island,” the rich storytelling in of “The Pirates Came To Bald Head” and the lush romanticism of “The Memory Of Your Love (Song For Isabella).” Still, nothing quite nails me to the wall like the 1 ½ minutes of acapella piece “Listen.” Such a voice, such feeling, such power. Stunning stuff. A Super Nova

BULLFROG – “Beggars & Losers” CD ’09 (Andromeda Relix, Ita) – Is it fair for me to review albums like this? I mean, maybe to give proper perspective I should get my dad to do it. Then again, what would his review sound like…hmm…not sure exactly, but I can most assuredly promise you it would include the phrases “bunch of longhairs,” “all hopped-up on dope” and “they were banging my ears for an hour.” No, I’ll go ahead and do it even though all you have to do is mention the words “70’s hard rock” and I’m there, salivating like Pavlov’s Dog on the day The Bell Store had a big sale. Right from the git-go, I like the looks of this puppy. Talk about an eye-catching cover! Jesus Christ, you’d have to be a colour-blind man in a black & white TV factory not to be wowed by the artwork here. And tell you what, a gigantic frog with devil horns comes my way clutching a Les Paul & a bass, I’m gonna take notice. Open the gorgeous digipak, slide in the disc and baby, you’re in hard rawk heaven. Apparently BULLFROG’s 3rd full lengther, they really let it be the charm as there’s nary a bummer to be found among the 11 cuts here. Opening with “Over Again,” this trio (Silvano Zago – guitars; Francesco Dalla Riva – bass, vox; Michele Dalla Riva – drums) sounds like Humble Pie crossed with maybe some killer obscure southern hard rock dudes like Two Guns (especially in the vocal dept.) These boys aren’t afraid to dollop on the dynamics. Check out the way Zago comes charging out of the mellow interlude in this cut, right into a paint peeling solo. Yeah man. Lotsa barn-burning riffers to choose from here, but my faves have gotta be the smoking “On Through The Night” (not Def Leppard!), the HPie/Doobies hybrid of “Keep Me Smile” or the true Suddern guitar blowout of “Poor Man Cry.” This is good stuff and the CD even looks like a record. No Losers Here

DOOMRAISER – “Erasing The Remembrance” CD ’09 (Blood Rock, Ita) – When this disc came tumbling out of the envelope I received awhile back from Italy’s Black Widow Records, I have to admit, it was my first time crossing paths with DOOMRAISER. That being said, I did a little research and found that, at least at one point, the band was considered to be on the “humor” side of doom, with a penchant for lyrics and image that celebrated massive alcohol consumption over a lot of other things. It seems that between then & now, this 5-piece bunch has decided to take their craft a lot more seriously as this is good straight-ahead doom metal. Besides a healthy dose of allegiance to the likes of luminaries like, natch, The Sabs, Vitus, Candlemass, etc. there is also an added nod to Swiss pummelers Celtic Frost. Grab an earhold on the death grunts & sledgehammer rhythms in “The Raven” to see what I mean. Elsewhere, these guys are not ones to rush thru anything with 3 of the 7 tracks topping the ten minute mark. The quality of the tunes does, for the most part, justify their length and anyone into solid doom metal, especially of the Maryland variety (go Terps!?) will dig this. A Nice Italian Job


Sir Lord Doom said...

Hey Brother, nothing wrong with heavy drinkin' doom...anyway, carry on with that inspirational work, are my mentor...


raysrealm said...

Hey Sascha, you heard the debut ARGUS yet? Now that's some dual lead, massive doom-inflected metal!