Soul of my City – Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

It’s clear from the outset that this album is going to be something special, the cover artwork alone tells you that there has been a lot of thought and work gone into the making of this album. It’s always a good idea to make your cover stand out because fans of this style of music will be dipping into this cd regularly and, lets face it, no one likes a boring album cover.

We’ll get the factual stuff out of the way first and then we can move onto the important stuff; the music.

The band are a six-piece vintage style outfit based in Newcastle, “vintage” is a word that has been lending itself to describe various things for a little while and, in musical terms, it probably doesn’t tell you very much, so I’ll try and expand on that a little. Basically the music reignites the time when there were three kinds of music; music for listening to, music for singing to in church and music for dancing to. The music on here is very much in the third category (but also in the first, just for the lyrics alone you’ll find some clever wording and messages).

This isn’t a band experimenting with drum loops and synthesizers, it’s honest, straight down the line, music played by talented musicians on musical instruments ranging from guitar and double bass to accordion, harmonica and Hammond organ, there are guest appearances from saxophone and nicely arranged backing vocals, but this is a band firmly rooted in the music of yesteryear (opening track ‘Lets go Back in Time Man’ gives you clear notice of what to expect).

One advantage of having so much musical dexterity within the band is you’re able to shift gear and sneak into other genres unchallenged, we go from honkytonk to rockabilly to bluegrass country to Gypsy jazz to swing and Sun Records style rock n roll, this is the type of music Elvis Presley would have drooled over as a young boy in Mississippi.

Sure this music isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, there is an argument that music should be an ever-changing ball of creativity where artists should take what has come before to earn the knowledge to look forwards but there is also the old saying that good music is still good music no matter what genre or style.

If you want to listen to an album that has good songs, will most probably make you want to dance and is choc full of songs that hark back to a time when making music was about having fun, listen to this album.

 

 

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