I now own three instrumental albums; and all are by pedal-steel players. How bizarre is that? Or is it?
The other two are by the legendary Buddy Emmons and Bloodshot ‘go to guy’ Jon Rauhouse and both of those albums, like this debut album by Henry Senior Jr. from Danny & the Champions of the World are eclectic beyond belief and take my second favourite instrument* in the world into a whole new stratosphere.
Surprisingly enough; unless you know the people involved Plates of Meat is the first release on brand new label Maiden Voyage Recording Company; a collaboration between Danny George Wilson (from those Champions of the World) and Del Day, founder of Ark PR who promote a myriad of Roots and Americana act around the UK.
HEY, HO…enough about the history lesson.
This album of earthly delights opens with Green Fingers a delicious slice of British Funk….yes…F.U.N.K that nods in the direction of Booker T. Henry takes his pedal-steel on a journey that even Buddy Emmons would have worn a crash helmet for; and the electric piano that he run into time and time again, is simply wonderful.
That soulful funky mood continues over the next couple of tracks, especially Goodbye Bowler Hat and Better Left Unsaid, with Champions Sax player extraordinaire ‘Free Jazz’ Geoff Widowson taking the lead and taking the album down a Hot Rats era Frank Zappa path…..and by golly, gosh it sounds as exciting as a series of electric shocks.
Not everything is quite so left of centre, Senior Jr. does let his Country Roots show on occasion with Cat Doggin’ swinging into town straight outta some Oklahoma Honky Tonk, and In The Presence of Namaqua sounding like something Tarantino would use on a Spaghetti Western soundtrack as Henry goes all Technicolour.
I don’t really know why, but I simply love Along Came Molly and the title track Plates of Meat which keep that Funky beat going, and either could and should be the theme tune to any remake of the TV Cop Drama The Sweeney (or Miami Vice or NYPD Blue or…..).
Well, Plates of Meat is different, very different from the normal fair I listen to and review but is now worthy of a place in my ‘special drawer’ in the office alongside my Chet Baker, Jon Rauhouse, Augustus Pablo, Nick Pride and of course Frank’s Hot Rats CD’s for emergency use when my musical brain needs a detox.
Released October 7th 2016
#This review first appeared on The Rocking Magpie website https://wordpress.com/stats/day/rockingmagpie.wordpress.com