Country Music People December 2017 - Page 44

albumreviews RAY WYLIE HUBBARD Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can  1/2 God Looked Around / Dead Thumb King / Spider, Snaker And Little Sun / Lucifer And The Fallen Angels / Open G / House Of The White Rose Bouquet / Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can / The Rebellious Sons / Old Wolf / Prayer / In Times Of Cole Producer: Ray Wylie Hubbard Bordello Records / Thirty Tigers 45:36 Ray Wylie Hubbard had a weather-beaten voice in the 1970s, and today it is only just this side of listenable. If you think Bob Dylan’s singing voice is now terrible, well, this album shows you that there is a lower level. There’s no denying Ray Wylie Hubbard’s commitment or the quality of his songs – it’s just that he would be better saying to Tony Joe White, “Here, Tony, sing these songs for me.” It’s a fair comparison as Ray Wylie’s themes and sound (spare slide guitar and harmonica) are similar. As usual, Ray Wylie Hubbard is grappling with spirituality: namely, SHANE RICHIE A Country Soul  Heartache On The Dancefloor / I Loved Her First / Wave On Wave / Shut Up (‘Cause All I Want Is You) / I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me / What Hurts The Most / Wagon Wheel / Heartache Tonight / That Bottle 44 cmp - DECEMBER 2017 can someone in cohorts with the Devil get to heaven? In Lucifer And The Fallen Angels, he picks up hitchhikers on the way to Nashville. One is the Devil who tells him he will never make money from his songs. It’s better to reign in hell than go to heaven, so let’s push on to Mobile and rob a store along the way. In other songs, he realises that his soul can’t be redeemed and in God Looked Around, he attributes his problems to the creation of Eve: “Whoa, Lord, you done answered my prayers.” Now he wonders whether God would even listen to his prayers. This all seems very real for Ray Wylie Hubbard, but you get the impression from a few chuckles that you needn’t take him too seriously. The title track is the best and I could see it recast as a stadium rocker. It is very much in Lucinda Williams’ style and both Lucinda and Eric Church add backing vocals. In this road song, the singer is going to Austin and reflecting on his marriage which is like “living in a thunderstorm”. The slide guitar is terrific on Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can and he writes about his tunings on Open G, a song which would only interest other guitarists. He relates his love for Lightnin’ Hopkins in Dead Thumb King and Howlin’ Wolf in Cry Wolf, which has his son Lucas playing like Hubert Sumlin. He plays tribute to the Minnesota trio, Spider John Koerner, Dave Ray and Tony Glover in Spider, Snaker And Little Sun, concluding “They could tear the Kingston Trio to shreds.” I had to go to the Bible to understand The Rebellious Sons as Hubbard tells us the song is based on Genesis 4:15. It is about Cain being doomed to walk the earth for killing his brother, Abel. It has a tense, Paris, Texas- styled accompaniment from the Bright Lights Social Hour. You can already hear the whole album on Spotify for nothing, so maybe the Devil was right: it is hard to make a living from music these days. Spencer Leigh Country music must look easy to people outside of it. They obviously think you only need two or three chords, heck they’ll even cite “It’s three chords and the truth” as some justification that it is country. However, to do it well and to do it properly takes a hell first in many years and I wished he had left it alone. The scary thing is that this release will find its way into untold numbers of Nana’s Christmas stockings and it might even end up being the biggest selling “country” album of the year in the UK. No doubt buoyed by the media’s claims of country being at an all time high in the UK, the EastEnders star treats us to his supposedly country renditions of Nik Kershaw’s I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, music throughout this album whose ͔$յ)ЁѡȁѼѽѡ)ɑ́ݥѠȁ)ȁ܁ѕ͕ͥ́)ͥQѕ)ݽ͔ͥչ)ͽ́$ٕȁ݅ѕѼ)ɔͽɔ)́ѡЁٔɕ)ѡЁɽՍѡ)Ёѡ)9Ёչ䰁ͽհ)ͽ̰ɱչɥ)ɽՍӊéѡٕ)Ёɔѡ٥ѡ͕)ȁͽɄɹ)ЁɕɑՑͽչ)Ոͥȸѡӊéݡ)MIͽչ́)Q́́ЁMIé)хЁͥ͌ЁЁ́́ɅéɥЁ݅䰁)ѡȃqչtͥ́)]]Qe)!хQаݡ)͡ձٔЁݕ)IѥՅɽٕ́)չхչѡ)ͽ݅ɹ)Ёѡ͔啅́)չ'eձѕ)ѡ́ɕɐeԁ͡ձѽ)MI՝ЁѼ)͕͡)չ]ݥ)eЁeȁɥ1ٔQ)=e׊eɔ]Ѡ==)ɥЁ݅䀼ȁɑ)AɽՍ9Mѡݽ)I(