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Lee Southall Lee Southall
Album: Iron In The Fire
Label: Wonderfulsound
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.wonderfulsound.com

Generations of Liverpool's musical sons and daughters have been raised on country, folk, blues and beat and in that regard The Coral were no different to The Stairs, The La's, Teardrops, Bunnymen or even the bloody Beatles. None of them were too scared to nod to their roots and so it is with Lee Southall, the former Coral six string slinger whose debut solo album is liberally laced with reflective fireside sounds all delivered with a characteristically Scouse sense of melody and herby strangeness.

After opening with the Donovan-esque title track, Shade of Blue has a feel of Laurel Canyon breeze about it, while Misty Mae is all north country boys in smoky folk clubs. Further in, if Sleep boldly plays footsie with Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Yesterday Morning is more Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson than James Taylor and Tim Buckley.

Under the Weather adds a portentous sense of a coming storm, but is more rain-lashed Lancashire mill town than tornado-torn Kansas plain; Nobody Wins channels Macca and revels in the melody; Spread Your Wings is what Willie Nelson would've written if he'd come from Hoylake.

So there's much to commend Iron in the Fire - that it echoes Love, perhaps Fleet Foxes, even John Martyn will surprise few, that it asserts its own identity with such confidence and brio might do.

Nick Churchill
www.nickchurchill.org.uk