CD Review – Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra “Money Isn’t Everything”
Dance to yer Daddy with a Ragtime Beat
If I hadn’t been a reviewer and this CD hadn’t landed unannounced on my desk, I don’t think I’d have gone near it in a million years. Why would I? Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra are a Ragtime band from the French Quarter of Newcastle in Northern England and the oldest member doesn’t even look old enough to shave (even the one with a beard) never mind drink; yet they have obviously immersed themselves in every nuance of Ragtime, Jazz and Swing music in their short lives and they can play their instruments with skill, passion and reverence.
MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING is as authentic as anyone under the age of 70 and not born and bred in New Orleans has a right to produce. That said this isn’t a pastiche; this is an album full of brand new songs with contempory themes but played out to a Trad toe-tapping musical beat.
If you weren’t to know the facts, the casual listener would think that Great Fire of Bykerwas a historical event from the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries; but it was an actual event that brought Newcastle to a standstill in May 2011! The tune; much like everything else on the album will have you shuffling your feet and smiling in equal measures.
Although written in 1931 about the Great Depression; Bank Failurescould just as easily be about the recent demise of the Newcastle based Northern Rock Building Society and the subsequent bail out of the UK banking system by HM Government – it’s a twist of sheer genius; even if it does feature young Mr. Heron yodeling!
Perhaps title track Money Isn’t Everythingisn’t to be taken too literally as it’s written from a young person’s view point that hasn’t yet been tainted by the cynicism that comes with age; but it too is eminently danceable.
I normally like to point my readers towards a favourite track or two, but MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING has made that particular quest very difficult, but if you twist my arm I’ll say Hangover Blues which must have been written while suffering from that particular affliction and could well have contributed to the way the singer croons it too.
Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra have created a wonderful disc that takes the very best of the past and brings it bang up to date – I love it.