Monday, January 05, 2009

The Mighty Baboo by Sweet Baboo

Fine musicianship and interesting instrumentation are the hallmarks of Sweet Baboo's impressive debut album. Not that The Mighty Baboo is a po-faced work. Humorous lyrics frequently, playfully undermine the melancholy mood of Stephen Black's songs.

It takes a certain chutzpah to open your debut collection with a ditty called Recapping All My Other Songs. A confidence that will turn out to be entirely justified. Railway enthusiasts will be delighted by the up-tempo Good Lord the Sun (Good Lord the Sun) is Gonna Smile On Me, which is a train song that chugs along rather nicely.

Putting Things in Boxes and Places is positively Tom Waitsian in its wallowing ambience. The tune features some great harmonising - another strong feature of this CD. You're too Close to my Hip Bone is simply lovely. The mandolin/pedal steel guitar/trumpet combo works a treat.

The mixing of the musically melancholy with the lyrically comedic is exemplified in the alt.countrified The Ballad of Mr Mario. As for Emotionally Alone (Close to me), it is just perfect - this CD's killer track. I love the clarinet on this.

You can hear Sweet Baboo wrestling with a church organ in Tom Waits Rip Off. A song which contains the inspired line: "Please don't let me die Lord, I'm the new Phil Spector."

The ghost of George Formby haunts My New Found Love of Recorders, whilst the songwriting technique of Jonathan Richman is wryly deconstructed in Jonathan Richman.

You Can Turn a Smile Right Back Into a Smile is a lush, (uncharacteristically) optimistic love song. The CD ends in comic fashion with the tale of a troublesome wolf called Clive in Wolfie 93. And nice to hear my ancestral homeland, Grangetown, getting a mention.

The Mighty Baboo is as good as anything I heard in 2008. Far be it for me to tell you, dear reader, what you should be spending your hard-earned cash on, but you could do a lot worse than getting your paws on this. The CD can be purchased directly from Businessman Records or a decent record shop like, for example, Spillers.