Saturday, September 7, 2019

Geraint Watkins - Rush Of Blood

So this Geraint Watkins fella.  How come I’ve never heard of him till now?  Who forgot to send me the memo?
First I’ve heard of him is when this guy I know who does some PR work sends me this Rush Of Blood CD, with a geezer even older than me on the cover wearing a buttoned up white shirt and a baggy jacket, looking like he’s forgotten where he put his car keys. Given that said PR chap has a penchant for stuff in, shall we say, the more outlying post codes of blues’n’roots music, I’m asking myself how oddball this album is going to be.
Geraint Watkins - he plays piano and accordion
So it kicks off with ‘Rush Of Blood’ itself, and first impressions from its loping rhythm and country stylings are, well, the theme from Rawhide maybe – you know, that thing the Blues Brothers do for a few hours solid in a redneck bar?  A bit off the wall maybe, but only a bit.  And then a sizzling rockabilly-esque guitar break kicks in, and I sit up and start paying attention.
Which is good, because what follows is no kinda weirdo shit.  This is cool and mellow roots music, worldly wise and matured by musical experience in the best of company.  It sounds like, it sounds like . . .
Ry Cooder doing some authentic stuff, like Ry Cooder does, while keeping an eye on Dylan who’s looking into the distance hearing the rumble of distant thunder in the mountains and pondering what Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ would sound like if it were accompanied by a Fender Rhodes piano, and wishing that Van Morrison would stop rehearsing that cool thing with a sax in the room next door so he could think straight, ‘cause he’s also trying to remember that dream he had last night when Frank turned up in this bar next to him – yeah, Frank, with the fuckin’ trilby hat an’ everything – and started doing that whole schtick about one more for my baby yadda yadda yadda, ‘cept next time Bob turned round in his dream it wasn’t Frank at all it was that Tom Waits bastard who’s too good for his own good, grinning at him like a loon and getting all romantic about a new coat of paint. Like, Lord knows I can write a lyric about any old shit, thinks Bob, but paint, fer chrissakes?  And not even sounding like Tom Waits, but like that limey, whatsisname, Nick Lowe, that did that song about the folks who live on the hill – shit no, that was Frank too – sump’n about shakin’ on the hill – and hey, didn’t he write that ‘Beast In Me’ choon Johnny Cash did, how’d that go?  Well if you gotta have country then Cash is your man, ‘n’ some a’that Def Jam stuff was cool, like when he did sump’n with just some piece o’shit acoustic guitar.   Whatever, there goes Van doing some Leadbelly thing now, well what’s new?  But hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – and why is Cooder staring at me like that, and what’s he playing now, some zydeco mixed in there?  Sounds pretty darned good, hafta say, with that accordion, maybe some harp too.  An’ I know what you’re thinkin’ Cooder, you’re thinkin’ how about some violin here and there, an’ keep them drums just whisperin’ along, and stand-up bass, an’ – shit, wish I could sing like that dude Van’s got in with him now, sounds like that Springbean kid doing his beautiful reward thing.  Ah, fuck it – “Hey Ry, wanna jam for a while?  Kinda dig that stuff you’re working on, by the way.  You know that Neil thing ‘Harvest Moon’?  Let's play that - you do the vocals, huh?  I'll get on this Fender Rhodes over here.” 
And little wonder that Rush Of Blood sounds like the above.  Geraint Watkins, it turns out when I get round to reading the PR bumf, has been a sideman to some of the names mentioned above, like Van Morrison and Nick Lowe, and others big names besides. Multi-instrumentalist too, I’m surmising.  And Welsh, by the way.  And what he's done with Rush Of Blood is bloody marvellous.
Don’t hang around waiting for some track-by-track analysis from yours truly.  Check out the wacky Youtoob video of the title track, and see what you reckon.  And here’s a live version of the excellent ‘Hold Back’ – pick the bones out of that.  And I’ll be generous and point you towards ‘Heaven Only Knows’ for good measure.  And these aren't necessarily the best tracks!
Now excuse me, I need to go and do some more homework on this Watkins fella.  Did you know he played with Dave Edmunds?

Geraint Watkins’ album Rush Of Blood is released by The Last Music Co on 13 September.

No comments:

Post a Comment