FolkWords Reviews

‘A Fresh Pot Of Mustard’ Poor Old Dogs - a wicked amalgam of musical influence

(May 29, 2015)

Mustard is distinctive. Varieties are varied – Dijon, English, French, American, beer, hot pepper, spirit, whole grain – to mention a few. Mix mustard seeds with water, vinegar, salt, alcohol, lemon juice or most liquids and the resulting variations are ‘at home’ with almost any dish. What does this have to do with anything? Well, a new album ‘A Fresh Pot Of Mustard’ from Bristol-based folk iconoclasts serves up a wicked amalgam of musical influence that includes almost everything from everywhere with a result that’s distinctive and pretty much ‘at home’ with a huge range of audiences.

Go looking for it in their music and you’ll find there’s folk, punk, rock, reggae, ska, there’s also tradition saddled with invention, wild impudence and a substantial slice of audacity. The essence of this music is energy, enthusiasm and a fair degree of ‘we like it, so there it is’. All of which I find thoroughly refreshing and addictive. That’s my view, so there it is.poor old dogs new album

Kicking off proceedings with ‘Dog’s Day Off’ the expectations are set, rhythms and melodies vying with each other to build a musical miasma of highs and lows. The frenetic morphs through the relaxed, the pace changes tradition and the message hits home through tracks like ‘Tonight’ and ‘King of Rome’, then there’s ‘Jack Hall’ a prime example of tradition-in-traction getting stretched to new directions. They pour out songs like ‘Staying In Bed’ and ‘Betty’ where tune and lyrics make their point in no uncertain way, and to find classic examples of collective tongues planted firmly in cheeks go no further than ‘Fishmonger’ to find the party in full swing, and of course ‘Whiskey Johnny’ complete with tub thumping, foot stomping and seagulls. Then just when you think you might have a handle on all this, the boundaries stretch out to left-field with ‘Designated Weirdo’, what else?

There’s no doubt that Poor Old Dogs have pulled together a bouillabaisse of influences and styles to create a wholly unique sound, which I’m certain you’ll love or hate, much like mustard really. Me, I loved it.

Playing on the album are Jack Murray Francis (vocals, guitar) Laurie Cornwell (mandolin, tenor banjo, melodica, vocals) Leo Croker (electric guitar, vocals) Rory Smith (bass guitar, double bass, organ, vocals) Robert Alexander (drums, percussion) with Joel Williams (electric guitar) Lulu Austin (fiddle) Sam Oakley (trumpet) and Oli Stewart (trombone).

Find Poor Old Dogs here: poorolddogs.co.uk

Review: Tim Carroll

 

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