Old Bones, new Fire is the latest album from Miraculous Mule and apart from one song it's all covers of traditional gospel and spiritual songs. This includes 3 songs originally recorded in 2011 at Fortress Studios and then put aside alongside 7 songs recorded in the same style to make up an album. Miraculous Mule may all be lapsed Catholics, but this album is probably the best gospel blues album you'll this year and Michael J Sheehy, Alex Petty, Patrick McCarthy and Ian Burns preach to anyone with ears to hear.
The album opens with I Know I've been Changed that lays down the gospel according to Miraculous Mule with the feel of an old field holler or song being sung on a chain gang this is deeply spiritual with sparse instrumentation and a small gospel choir style backing singers, It's also far more restrained than Destiny's Childs version. This song is the first of the lost recordings from 2011 and it really deserves to be heard far and wide.
Nobody/Nothing feels more upbeat with a southern preacher man vibe and some southern country blues backing with some spectral guitar work to bring this wonderful old tune to life.
City Of Refuge tells you it's time to up sticks and get the hell away from whatever your involved in and get to the City Of Refuge, love the wailing backing vocals that I wish were more up front and centre of this gentle yet rather dark song for those in need of a little redemption.
We Get What We Deserve almost sounds like it's being sung to some politician or other whose been caught up to no good once more, no matter how much the lyrics are about a tawdry late-night assignation over mainly strummed acoustic guitar with some pedal steel and more of the wonderful semi choral backing vocals on the one original song on the album.
Fire In My Bones keeps us deep in the bayou singing of hope amongst the despair once more as he hopes he has enough Fire In His Bones to make this biblical epic real.
Oh Death sounds like they have been down of Parchman Farm and are trying to exorcize the ghosts of the mistreatment they have suffered, this is a sepulchral gospel version with Alex Petty taking the lead vocals that are indebted to Odetta this is a stand out version of a song I own far too many versions of.
John The Revelator is a similarly much covered classic and this gently intoxicating rural blues gospel take works perfectly to tell this tale once more as we all await more revelations.
Butcher Boy is played as a bucolic English folk song with lots of chiming sounds as this dark and twisted tale from old London town unfolds this draws you slowly unsuspecting into the dread and murder that's afoot this is a masterful take on this old familiar tale.
You Got To Take Sick And Die is the gospel for our coal black times as we hall have a few people who deserve to reap the final judgement to reign down on you as reward for your actions, this could easily be a song for the British government rather than a very fine old song and at least the second tune on the album also recorded by Boyd Rivers whose sound is certainly mined on this album.
The album closes with Sinnerman a song I tend to prefer being sung by women, but this is far more Nina than it The Seekers but with a sort of Seu Jorge feel this is a real soul stirring end to one of the most spiritual albums you'll hear this year.
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