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Jimmy Lee MorrisJimmy Lee Morris
Album: Wilderness Wood
Label: Automix
Tracks: 13

There's a variety of styles here in this debut release from East Sussex based singer/songwriter Jimmy Lee Morris, highlight for me is the opener "Give Me All Your Love" which has a wonderful Lowell George/Ry Cooder feel, it would fit seamlessly onto an early Little Feat album.

Like Lionel Bart's "Oliver" I was immediately guilty in the expectation of more.

I wasn't quite prepared then for the contrast of the second and title track, "Wilderness Wood". What followed was a singable chorus firmly planted with folk roots, the sort of song Scouts might sing round a campfire.

It was chalk and cheese. A massive leap of musical content that even the most ambitious of radio stations would balk at programming.

By this stage as I awaited the third track even a symphony orchestra wouldn't have surprised me. What next then I wondered?

The answer arrived with "Sunshine" complete with whistling intro and refrain, it transported me like a time warp into the past.

Past this opening it does tend to settle down, albeit there is a tendency to throw instrument after instrument into the mix. Almost as if the producer is saying "Let's have a bit of harmonium, a saxophone, a Uke". The list goes on.

Less is demonstrably more as with "Sleep In The Morning" a simple but effective song that moves into Ralph McTell / early Donovan territory with guitar and flute lines.

What of the rest ? Elsewhere think catchy pleasant pop sounds tinged with folk and jazz as Morris deals with relationships, breakups and life all in a laid back relaxed manner, with easy rhyming lyrics. If he's hurting, it's a stiff upper lip, emotions are kept well under wraps.

Whilst there's much to enjoy here the overall impression is that this is music that your Mum would find acceptable and that's a shame because when Jimmy lifts his game then the results are exceedingly good as Mr Kipling claims.

You could argue the secret to making a good cake is the consistency of the mix, If so then I look forward to future releases proving that theory.

Ian Cripps