Pay Pack And Carry is the latest album from Bob Collum's long running Essex based country band and on the ever reliable Harbour Song Records. It features some cool guest spots from Peter Holsapple and Martin Belmont as well as the normal Welfare Mothers.
The Opening Across A Crowded Room is a plangent country song about a break up that he never thought would happen but of course did. Catherine Row could be a place or somewhere really special to Bob that has some great interplay between the slide guitar and the fiddle as he decides it's no place like home and I'm not sure if that's Essex or his original home in Tulsa Oklahoma while they sound a bit like The Rockingbirds.
Pay Pack and Carry is a relaxed fiddle led country love song to someone who wouldn't say sorry, yes it's still the hardest word and this song sounds like classic Grand ole Opry country from the 1970's in a timeless kind of way a bit Marty Robbins like but less camp.
I do hope Mr McGhee is a tribute to Brownie but is probably not and is about a gambling bar room legend of a kind with a walking blues beat punctuated with the country fiddles and slide guitar while being one of the catchiest songs on the album, it will take a few more listens for me to fully figure out what bits are borrowed from where.
Scarecrow has some really cool Pizzicato bits that jump out to help tell the story within the song that are well worth hearing and it really helps to show how well produced this album is by Pat Collier, as the feelings of the relationship dying is played out as much musically as it is lyrically.
Hey Blue could be about the old Doobie Brothers roadie and dealer that I was good friends with back in the 80's and 90's before his smack habits got properly out of control whatever happened to Blue. But I'm not sure Bob is singing about a heroin deal as the pace is far too frantic for that a good bit of Bar room Country that's well worth hearing.
They then cover Mike Heron's Log Cabin In The Sky a wonderful tune that sounds like he's sitting in that Log Cabin somewhere out near Canvey Island in the drizzle rather than wherever Mike was thinking of when he wrote it. I love the arrangement of this particularly I think it's the mandolin's and fiddles and what they do very cool.
Tin Can Telephone is an upbeat sounding country rocker about meeting your ex while out an about and talking about how much you've changed while reversing and reworking the lyrics to Love The One You're With to good effect.
Blue Sky Rain has a nice woozy in parts feel to it as Bob tells the truth to someone of the heartbreak that is inevitable and the Blue Sky rain that accompanies it oh and the Viola that sounds like a ticking clock sounds great as it marks the passing of the time as you heal or hurt.
The Album closes with a cover of Mike Nesmith's Different Drum a song that it's nice to hear being given a different treatment that's almost country pop in its upbeat happy feel no matter what's in the lyrics a very cool reworking of a classic song that most of us know from Linda Ronstadt or PP Arnold more than The Monkees original.
This is a great country album and well worth hearing find out more at www.bobcollum.com http://www.harboursong.co.uk/ www.facebook.com/bobcollummusic