Wednesday, 23 July 2014
REVIEW: PUSS N BOOTS-NO FOOLS, NO FUN
These Boots Where Made For Singing.
"You have to live my life to get boots like these", sang Ben Harper back on the 'White Lies and Dark Times' of a collaborative album with one of his many groups Relentless7. It's clear to hear that Norah Jones has earned her spurs, strapping her boots on for many hard worked projects. The smokey, smouldering singers sensational and successful solo career is as soulful as it is one of a star. After the diamond mining classic 'Come Away With Me', the follow ups 'Feels Like Home' and 'Not Too Late' continued that trends testimony until 'The Fall' of a break-up album delved into darker depths before 'Little Broken Hearts' reached new songwriting and crafting classic heights. Raising the bar for herself it may have been a couple of years since a Miss Jones signature but Norah has been hard at work collaborating from everyone from Ryan Adams to Talib Kweli. The woman whose career began with the Peter Malick group appeared alongside fellow supporting guest star Jack White on Danger Mouse and Daniel Luppi's 'Rome' soundscape and even last year had an Everly Brothers tribute duet album with Green Day's Billie Joe-Armstrong for 'Foreverly'.
Now just over half a year later there's no sleep to Brooklyn for the New Yorker with her new bar-room beautiful band Puss N Boots which judging from its boyfriend shirt and knee high boot only cover has nothing to do with a classic childrens story or Antonio Banderas 'Shrek' character...even though no one can resist those cat eyes. It's more like the tongue in cheek, innuendo of her other country band in tribute to Mr. Nelson, The Little Willies. All parental advisory joking aside this is another seriously stellar tribute to the hall of fame that runs through Nashville, Tennessee that is as country strong as all the chords of storytelling covered here. The woman who gave Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' plea as great a reworking as her White Stripe 'Rome' travel companion gives us a collection of classic covers, live takes from the watering hole and some outstanding originality at the centrepiece of this collaboration. She's not alone however on her relentless year after year output, being joined by Sasha Dobson, the jazz singer who laid some groundwork on 'The Fall' and Catherine Popper who is the former bass player of another Jones collaborator Ryan Adams' Cardinal group. Covering every classic from 'Down By The River' (that is as great a live rendition as Dave Matthews one with Tim Reynolds) to 'Jesus etc' (that Jones took live on her deluxe edition of 'The Fall' and on this deluxe edition we have another live take of Cash's 'Cry, Cry, Cry' favourite) this set-list of a collabo collection is born, raised and tailor made for classic New York bars as Jones takes her sultry sound further from the coffee houses to the after hours to late night whiskey chasers.
It's all so smooth too from the smoke of a cigarette to the ash in the bottom of the glass. These American beauties get real Smokey on their big opener 'Leaving London' that's a capital exclamation to a country landmark. So begins this genius co-working of another Norah band album for the good times. 'No Fools, No Fun' is a straight shot of a record with no chaser that suffers none for a serious bit of entertainment. Perfect for when Friday night, pool hall billiards meet to hustle for change this all just clicks for these co-stars. These grown women are anything but Pussycat Dolls as they cover every legend from Neil Young to Johnny Cash over a cup of tea in creating their legacy, even reworking the man in blacks 'Bull Rider' whose lyrics inspired the naming of this album. "No rides, no pay bull rider". In a year where even Cash affords an album (previously unreleased) these country sisters have the roots of the genre growing under the heels of their collective soles with an E.P's worth of originals (5 tracks) to go with seven seals of sublime tributes. The Bands Robbie Robertson 'Twilight' tribute shows more of this Bell Room, Brooklyn bar talk, before 'Sex Degree Of Separation' combines some of the creative originality from the ladies. The Jones penned 'Don't Know What It Means' writes this notion further into songwriting stone as the best singer/songwriter out of the United States on top of her game not called Springsteen or Harper shows that even amongst their latest releases she has the most creative cohesiveness. After enjoying more great takes of 'Tarnished Angel' and the drive time radio repeat of 'GTO', Popper steps up the beat on 'Always' before where taken to a cabin in the woods in a new American country classic 'Pines'. As countries new Dolly, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris big three sign off with 'You'll Forget Me' its clear to hear we'll still remember these cats. One day these boots are going to walk all over the whole of America's country. C'mon boots! TIM DAVID HARVEY