Vinyl LP £20.99 MF024
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- The Mongrel's Hoard by Ralph White
I've had a lot of records with screenprinted sleeves to review today for some reason...must be something in the water. This one's got a nice colourful print going on and then on the disc within there's six tracks of nimble-fingered steelstring picking accompanied by fiddle and voice (and button accordion and kalimba, both unfamiliar tones to me). What this gives us is a hazy, nostalgic, physical plinky-plonky field of tones over which his ol' timey crooning can rest as he works his way through five covers with composers with composers that range from Blind Lemon Jefferson and “traditional”, er, Pink Floyd(?!).
It's his guitar picking style that's the star of the show from my perspective. The other elements give it a unique texture and ambience, but it's the dextrous, energetic plucking that accompanies his mournful, reedy voice that's giving me the most satisfaction and enjoyment here, sittin' in our office and wishing I was out on a rocking chair in someone's wooden porch, smoking a cigar and watchin' this feller lay down some tracks for real. In places it's making me think of a slightly less insane Russell Hoke. My one minor gripe is that in places he eases up on the guitar to let the other tones shine through and I want more of that fast'n'fluid plucking please! The lo-fi recording style really suits the playing and gives it quite an evocative, nostalgic feel, like it's an oddity that's just been plucked out of history and polished back up for public consumption.There's lasting and indulgent enjoyment to be found in these here grooves.
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