Album Review: Lincoln Durham “The Shovel (vs) The Howling Bones”

Album Review: Lincoln Durham “The Shovel (vs) The Howling Bones”

Lincoln Durham: "The Shovel (vs) The Howling Bones"


How could you not be drawn to an album that says in its sleeve notes:

“recorded using early to mid-century Gibsons, Kays, Silvertones, Voxs, Bell & Howells, guitars found in potted plants, cardboard boxes, bird feeders, oil pans, hacksaws, feet and anything else that would make a noise”

Want to know what a 1929 Gibson HG-22 sounds like (all middle, warm and percussive), likewise a wooden cone resonator?  Try track five “Mud Puddles”.  There are very cool guitars all over the songs on “The Shovel (vs) The Howling Bones”.

The songs themselves are stripped down to the bone, rhythm and blues and there ain’t no unnecessary guitar solos anywhere, not a single pyrotechnic display of virtuoso guitar playing –  nope; this is rhythm and blues and Lincoln Durham is really good at it.  This has that edgy, just slightly dangerous feel that the good stuff has.  It grooves and lurches; drumbeats are basic and yes that is a bird feeder being used as a shaker.  Vocals sit right out front and never mind guitar solos, there’s only just enough guitar to carry a rhythm and support the blues filled vocals (and damn, does he sound like classic Paul Rodgers at times).

The thing with playing like this is that as long as musicians are good (and they are) there’s going to be a lot of space – and this makes it easy to explore each song.  Albums like this tend to sound rather good, not because they’re audiophile grade recordings but because they haven’t been messed about with that much.  “The Shovel (vs) The Howling Bones” is unpretentious authentic sounding blues and R & B.  The recording is honest and it’s produced only as much as it needs to be. What’s not to like?  Nigel Finn


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