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- Black Pudding by Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood
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“All of a sudden a great black pudding came rolling down the street, it missed me mother and hit me father and knocked him off his feet”. So sang my grandad on countless occasions during my childhood. The title track of this effort is a little different from that pre-war ditty, being a primarily bleak acoustic guitar rolling folk instrumental number. I have to hold my head up high and say that I have never come across Duke Garwood before but ol’ gravel voice Mark Lanegan is long term a fan of the London-based guitarist and states that this collaboration has been “one of the best experiences of my recording life”.
Lanegan as often seems to be the case in his collaborations is a visitor at the sessions, his voice only appearing halfway through second track ‘Pentacostal’, but is an effective counterpart to the “wheezy broke down blues”. ‘War Memorial’ is a gentler strum, structurally not unlike some of Nick Drake’s bluesier efforts, Lanegan’s voice quite clear sounding for a change although ol’ whiskey larynx is back in fore with ‘Mescalito’ which would be better had it not featured an, ahem, featureless drum machine tapping away.
The guitar playing throughout is impressive ranging from acoustic pluckings to full on bluesy howls. It’s bleak though, particularly when Lanegan takes charge as on ‘Last Rung’ in which he huskily growls over some discordant piano. Not a nice album, but relatively impressive and one which Lanegan fans will need to pick up if you want to hear his voice in a more stripped down location. Garwood appears a versatile and talented guitarist (even veering into Vini Reilly territory on ‘Driver’) and so it’s a worthwhile collaboration though it is dark. So black in fact that even the white bits are black.
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