More than 50 years into his career as a songwriter, Michael Hurley still produces new work, and Bad Mr. Mike supplies the freshest cuts. Songs are old and new, instrumental and vocal driven, traditional and original: Hurley just lets the music flow out through him any way it can. Recorded solo at home with guitar, banjo and organ: he even did the sleeve art. On Mississippi.
Vinyl LP £15.99 MRP103LP
LP on Mississippi.
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We know plenty of things......and some things we don't. One thing we didn't know the answer to was the question posed to us (possibly tongue in cheek) by a customer as to whether Michael Hurley had even started to record this much delayed record. Well whenever he started recording it, he's finished now. If 'finished' is the right word for Hurley whose outsider folk seems to be in a constant state of being dismantled.
If you want slick finger picking then you've come to the wrong place - Hurley often sounds like he's picking his instruments while wearing boxing gloves - but what he lacks in virtuosity he makes up for in feeling. When he sings as on 'Charona' the effect coupled with the picked banjo is mesmerising. His voice soars above the dissonant plucks reaching a superb still intact falsetto. 'Tender is the Guitar' is played on - you guessed it - organ and here his voice rasps bringing to mind an 80 year old Daniel Johnston. In fact the ageing Hurley is ruminating on old age on several of these splintered shards of folk particularly on 'Beasley's Release'.
This is truly effecting music and if Hurley at the age of 74 isn't going to hit the dizzy heights of earlier work his ability to construct transcendental melodies from a variety of instruments is still impressive and the album gains something extra from it's extremely lo-fi production style. It seems a tape recorder was switched on as My Hurley started playing. And that was that. Evocative, haunting folk from a master.
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