After four successful folk albums Jackie Oates’ Lullabies (ECC), is an unusual diversion.
With two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards she has even inspired a moisturiser for Lush cosmetics. Music wise she has collected and arranged these sleep songs from a range of sources such as A.A.Milne (Alexander Beetle with music from Melanie), the Incredible String Band (Sleepers Awake) and Paul McCartney (Junk) from his first solo album.
Long standing lyricist John Mackie this week has a collection of his poetry released as an album with musical accompaniment. A Strand Of Pearls (Birnam), part of his Pearl Diving by Moonlight collection from 2012 certainly come to life with slide guitar on ‘The Forest Orchid’ or the eerie flute enhancing ‘Pearl Diving’. One time writer for David Bowie and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express he now writes of love and landscapes helped by musicians Duncan Wood, Anna Lavigne and Gavin Sutherland.
Now Gavin Sutherland was always known for the many years of performing with his brother Iain as the Sutherland Brothers. They toured as a live act with the band Quiver but the cover of their hit by Rod Stewart would forever be known as his version as being definitive. The song being ‘Sailing’. With a bunch of new songs in his head Gavin was inspired to record Tango at the Lost Cafe (Birnam), helped by his brother and some friends like Billy Rankin and Tim Renwick. Together they create the right jazzy atmosphere and vocals that remind me of Gerry Rafferty or even recent Eric Clapton. It’s suddenly very cool again to like this style of Americana electric folk music.
Nathan Jones from New Zealand is well known in jazz circles and his new sax based album The Poet’s Embrace (Warner Jazz), just adds to his creative collection. Now clean from his addictions he is out performing again and this project, recorded in just two days was a ‘live in the studio’ straight to tape recording. The impressive ‘Universal Man’ has space for piano and drum breaks but the tenor sax rules at one with the rhythm section mesmerisingly good.