Al Scorch & the Country Soul Ensemble – Tired Ghostly Town

This album starts in the fast lane, high octane banjo led folk-punk that immediately grabs the listeners attention, just like opening tracks should, track two drops the tempo down a notch to start before quickly building in a Zorba The Greek style to a crescendo of frantic playing before we drop into a more sedate pace with track three The Hearse Driver with splashes of organ joining clarinet and banjo to great affect before the Hammond part rises in the mix to end the track and the whole thing works out beautifully despite or in-spite of the subject matter.

The album then switches style to track four a good old fashioned bluegrass jam à la OCMS, track number five Working Dream just about edges out the others as my favourite from the collection – a tale in the first person of accompanying ones beau her fathers funeral – a victim of the cruel reality of a working man at the hands of the ‘Big C’ and ‘The Man’. The musical roller coaster ride then takes us back to where we started with further frantic raucous blasts of banjo driven punk bluegrass that near batters you into submission before switching down a gear for the infectious Movie Picture another album highlight that leads us one of the albums quieter moments – quieter not quiet tracks Two Flags, then just when you expect a final shot of full on banjo the album eases you out a gentler pace though the subject matter is anything but on Tired Ghostly Town which tracks the demise of a hometown and the inability to escape it’s grasp.

Over and out in around 27 minutes it’s not all about the five-string banjo wielding front man Al Scorch as the Country Soul Ensemble weigh-in with washboard, shakers, mandolin, spoons, guitar, clarinet, accordion, trumpet, Hammond organ and vocals bringing much colour to the songs and the characters then inhabit them, all-in-all a real treat and if this whets your appetite there’s a UK tour lined up for next Spring.

Check out the Daytrotter session here

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