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Saturday, 20th April 2019
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John Boden - Painted Lady

painted ladyWith the demise of Bellowhead several people may be asking, what next? We know about Messrs Sartin, Kirkpatrick, and Sweeney of course, but what of Jon Boden? He also announced his split with long-time musical partner Jon Spiers some time ago.

In the interim, Navigator Records has decided to reissue his 2006 self-composed album Painted Lady with the addition of three newly recorded bonus tracks in a smartly packaged 10th Anniversary Special Edition  available on both CD and vinyl. If you have the original, that makes it a very expensive 3-track CD.

I suspect it is quite different from Bellowhead's (I avoided listening) repertoire and even more so than Spiers & Boden (as I recall). Which begs the question, why? I presume a musician's ambition is to progress his/her music so releasing a ten year old album appears a little odd to me. Jon himself seems quite pleased because he has exhausted his personal stock of the album so presumably it has been selling well at his gigs etc.

The opening track, Get a little something immediately brought to mind The Cure (a pop combo from the eighties) complete with quirky instrumentation and distorted sound effects. Yes, there is a banjo, fiddle, what I guess is melodeon, an overdriven electric guitar (complete with solo), and thumping bass.

Pocket Full of Mud brings even more electronic buzzes and distorted guitar (and thumping bass) in what can only be described as “way out man”.........

Drunken Princess … more electronics, but quite a good pop/rock song.  Reggae gets a look-in with Lemany ; imagine a Dylanesque delivery over a Caribbean beat. True love brings us a country & western style number, while Broken Things is reminiscent of an old music-hall song with its solo melodeon/concertina accompaniment. A bit of slow blues? Then Drinking The Night Away is for you.

Of the three bonus tracks, Jon and his acoustic guitar on Old Brown Daughter is the pick of those although there is a Whitney Houston cover if that is your thing.

In summary, not as bad as I was expecting. It's quite a good pop/rock record overall with interesting arrangements but definitely not folk despite the classic folk instruments. I even enjoyed some of the tracks! You should talk to somebody who has the original and make up your own mind.

- Mal Robins


John Boden

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