Thursday, December 07, 2006

Record Review: The Be Good Tanyas

Much to my wife’s chagrin I picked up the new record "Hello Love" from the Canadian group; The Be Good Tanyas. You see, I’m not supposed to shop for myself around this time of year, but I had to buy this record: The Devil made me do it. And with some of the artists that have work on this record I am in good company. The Tanyas cover songs from the likes of Neil Young, Prince, Jeremy Lindsay, Sean Hayes and Mississippi John Hurt. Mixed in with those great tracks penned by others are a few really outstanding songs written by one or all of the Tanyas.

The first track on the album is “Human Thing” which was penned by lead singing Tanya, Frazey Ford. Ford’s voice reminds me of Allison Eastwood’s chractor from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” It’s all twangy and southern, which is a bit of a surprise for a girl from the frozen north. You would have guessed that she and Sam Parton, and Trish Klein all grew up listening to their grandpa play banjo on the front porch of their Tennessee home. But in this brave new world why not get great folk and country music from all over the world? The Tanyas and other groups I have delved into this year like Jenny Lewis and The WAiFS, prove that there is so much that can be said with the folk and country mediums. When someone isn’t screwing them up with absent minded patriotism, the same old down home drinkin’ fightin’ and fuckin’ “good ole boy n girl party song or worst of all idle threats of where they might put a boot.

Most country and folk music these days is no better than the other crap out there. Be it R&B, Rap, Pop, Dance, Rock or Gospel. That’s because the big labels shovel more shit then the folks who used to make this music down on the farm. The Tanyas are a group who takes the music back to it’s roots. On “Ootischenia” which all three of the girls collaborated on, those roots are evident. It is a stripped down guitar and banjo driven toe tapper that makes you want to close your eyes and bop your head. Ford seams like she reaches through your speakers as she sings “Bust apart we’ll lose each other. The constellation of my sisters and brothers, I’m spinning out into the darkness. Good bye to you in the sadness of this…”

The amount of covers may cause some people to dismiss this record, but these are the types of musicians who share music like they did in the 50’s and 60’s, not to mention the south. Their version of Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles” is outstanding and unique in it’s approach and execution. They tackle “When Doves Cry” with the help of Josh Thurston on bass and Mike August on drums. Ford’s vocal approach starts off like Natalie Merchant but takes off to a powerful delivery of a great tune. All in all it is one hell of a record, and I am sure I will be including Ootischenia in my TGWOOfY Top 100 for 2006, and I may even find a place for the whole album on my TGWOOfY Top 25 Records of ’06, and I couldn’t have put them on these lists if I hadn’t gone shopping for myself at Christmas time. Those lists will be out in early January. Not that you care.

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