Sunday, 26 February 2012
REVIEW: THE LITTLE WILLIES-FOR THE GOOD TIMES
Nelson's gotta be proud of these good times rollin'
She's a little bit country. She's a little bit rock and roll and she's also the women that does everything. The multi-platinum, multi-Grammy garnering Norah Jones has released classic after classic. From her diamond debut ('Come Away With Me') to her last electric release ('The Fall') Miss Jones has worked away at sublime solo set after solo set. Last year she and current rock and roll leader Jack White teamed up with prolific producer Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi on the epic album 'Rome'. A collaboration so good it has inspired Norah to request the services of Danger Mouse on manning the boards of her upcoming fifth studio album 'Little Broken Hearts', due May (which we can't wait for).
From all sorts of rappers (from Andre 3000 to Wyclef Jean) and artists ranging from rock and roll royalty Ryan Adams (after their 'Dear John' Jones appeared on three tracks of Adams' 'Ashes & Fire' album last year) to hilarious joke group The Lonely Island, the best female singer in the world has sung with them all. So much in fact she's even released her own formidable duet greatest hits style compilation called 'Featuring...'. Still with all that her true side-project will always remain with her first love. Her country band The Little Willies are back in the States and around the world. After their self-titled super debut this group have got together again 'For The Good Times'. Richard Julian, Jim Campilongo, Lee Alexander and Dan Rieser join Norah out of love for country music in this group who's name is surely inspired by country legend Willie Nelson and not an unfortunate appendage.
Channeling everyone from Johnny Cash ('Wide Open Road' follows Norah's incredible live take on Cash's 'Cry, Cry, Cry' off the deluxe 'Fall' package previously released) to Loretta Lynn (on the funny 'Fist City' that really packs a lyrical punch) this album covers all the country tracks all whilst paving its own original road. One that's proven and tested, built on hard times but by no means worn. From the perfect vocal, praised beginnings of 'I Worship You' to beautiful bonuses of 'Pennies on the Floor' and 'Delia's Gone' this group show their unconditional love for the classic genre of country with all their heart and soul.
Kris Kristofferson's album title track is the perfect homage, whilst the Willie's latest tribute to Willie 'Permanently Lonely' is a true honour to Mr. Nelson. Cal Martin's 'Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves' is a smooth, atmospheric number ready for the radio airwaves of cars driving through an electric nigh. Whilst 'Tommy Rockwood' makes for the perfect company especially with the lead 'Lovesick Blues'. Quincy Jones 'Foul Owl On The Prowl' shows just how much range this legendary producer has and just how much recognition this country act can give. Things get real thrilling here. A feeling that is resonated through 'Remember Me' and the affordable 'If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time'.
Still the best really is saved for the last trip through this country with a real American classic. Norah Jones sweet, soothing, sultry, smouldering vocals beautifully haunt as she channels Dolly Parton's trademark classic 'Jolene'. As Norah begs Jolene not to take her muse over this record she owns this cover version of a Dolly classic like it was her own. She hones this just as effectively as her 'Rome' travel companion Jack White did on The White Stripes heralded cover classic and Parton portrayal. Like the leading man of rock Norah shows she is the finest female in modern music today and her group show they are bringing back all the good country music back to life in these same modern times. Norah and her group rewrite some of the country's best stories and tell them so well and it all sounds so good. TIM DAVID HARVEY.