Following the successful release of their 2003 CD "Pussyfooting", The Gutbucket Jug Band searched for some more challenging tunes for this second CD.
Another member, Ken Farmer, was added to the group in order to round out the overall sound with washboard/percussion. Colin Stevens has added a cavaquinho to the mandolin and harmonica that he plays, and Tim Shaw revisited his childhood to resurrect a recorder and add it to his reeds. Brent Davey remains on banjo, Ron Davis on guitar and Tony Dunn on jug.
If you thought it was impossible for a jug band to render justice to some of the old favourites with any sensitivity, take time out to listen to a few tracks.
A Review from Paul Moore, One Man Band specialist and founder of Ukuleles for Peace in Israel.
If you like your Jug Band Music on the mellow side then this CD is the one for you. That doesn't mean it's all laid back, there are some up beat tracks as well, but over all this band has been mellowing like good single malt whisky with years of playing in their history.
The Vocals are perfect for this music. Colin Stevens has such gravel in his mellow tones, and really delivers the goods (listen to his French crooning in 'Nuages') and he also plays a mean Harmonica, Cavaquinho, & Mandolin.
Tony Dunn is the best jug player I have heard since Britain's 'The Famous Jug Band' Henry (the 8th) Bartlett blew in the sixties, and sadly he has passed on to Jugular Heaven and dwells with Gus Cannon and Jab Jones and a host of other celebrities.
Ken Farmer's Washboard and Percussion is tasteful, and nicely recorded, as is the whole CD. Excellent all round playing by Ron Davis on Guitar, Tim Shaw on Recorder and Clarinet give a lot of flavor throughout, especially on 'Embraceable You', and finally good solid Banjo playing by Brent Davey.
The choice of tunes is varied from classic Jug in 'Jailhouse' to great Jazz Standards, Blues, Tin Pan Alley, & even Irish strains on 'Ashokan Farewell' (which I think should have been the last track). 'Guabi Guabi' by Sibanda and arranged by the band is an interesting diversion.
My only criticism would be for the sake of the DJ as some of these tracks are over 5 and 6 mins long, which makes it hard to play on the Radio. However I did not find them tiring to listen to and as the mellowness flowed over me, I sipped my whisky and lit a good cigar.
All in all a grand effort by this long established Aussie Band. I wonder what dish of delights will come next.
Review By Paul Moore paulmooremusic.com.