Some things are so good they bubble to the top. You can't keep them down. Barefoot Jerry's music is a case in point.
Formed in the early Seventies by Wayne Moss, Mac Gayden and Kenny Buttery (all experienced and much sought after Nashville Session Players) formerly the nucleus of Area Code 615 (think "Stone Fox Chase" theme tune to the sadly missed Old Grey Whistle Test) who had decided to call it a day.
Formed after a tape of the band woodshedding in the mountains was made and then distributed by local doctor and keyboardist John Harris to Capitol Records.
Formed with no restraint normally associated with a studio, incredible musicians playing whatever took their fancy, a smorgasbord of styles and taste.
The journey commenced. An LP (Southern Delight) was released. Yet promotion was a problem, the band who took their name from a Mac Gayden's local mountain grocery store (where the owner would pluck out his fiddle and share old time bluegrass tunes and stories) didn't want to tour. Leaving their families was the reason often quoted though in truth the highly lucrative session work must have been a compelling factor.
Loved by the critics and the select few, Barefoot Jerry's records predictably failed to reach the mainstream mass market.
A fluctuating lineup due to those involved being required by front line music stars such as Neil Young and Melanie, scarcely seemed to affect the quality of the music predominantly penned by the band but with a few carefully chosen covers.
Floating World Records present here the third and fourth albums, the first two after switching to Monument Records in 1974. It's the third time this pairing had been released on CD in the UK (the first See For Miles, the second on Lemon - a division of Cherry Red), both of the earlier ones long since out of print and commanding serious money if you can track them down.
Luckily there's no need. This release solves the problem at a budget price. Thanks F.W.
But what of the music? A mix of Southern Rock, Blues, Country, harmonies abound. Title track "Watching TV.." is a slice of observational philosophy courtesy of Wayne Moss chief songwriter and stalwart of the band. "Two Mile Pike" is an impressive instrumental with a blistering guitar solo from Dave Doran.
Other highlights include "Faded Love" which has a terrific feel and is perhaps familiar through artists such as Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson or even Elvis Presley. The gentle social commentary of "There Must Be A Better Way" the delight of "Mother Nature's Way of Saying High".
It's impeccable playing, good tunes and presented with a confidence which allows a cover of Little Richard's "Lucille" to sit comfortably alongside a Lord Of The Rings inspired "Hero Frodo" and yet you feel neither are as strong as "You Can't Get Off With Your Shoes On" which brings back memories for this old scribe of the days when folk did indeed kick off their heels before joining the dance floor.
I'll admit to my age and leave, but one question before I go.
"Can you be laid back and up tempo"? Have a listen to Barefoot Jerry and decide for yourself.
|Callaghan: Skin On Skin||RW Hedges: Hunters In The Snow|
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