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Owen Moore Owen Moore
Album: Songs From A Swagman's Suitcase
Label: PJO
Tracks: 11

Averaging an album (or more) a year since 2011, the Bournemouth-based singer makes his first appearance of 2017 with a collection of other people's songs he's featured, one and off, in his live shows over the years. Some will be familiar, others less so, but all are delivered in a warm easy on the ear style that marks him out as Dorset's answer to Don Williams and which has seen me previously liken him to classic Irish country singers like Larry Cunningham and Frankie McBride. Moore plays everything on the album save for viola and harp drum, courtesy of Sam Stockley, which appear on the album opener, 'Killing The Blues', written by Chris Isaak bassist Rowland Salley. You might not know the name but, previously covered by Shawn Colvin, Plant and Krauss, John Prine and Shooter Jennings, you should know the song, Moore's version being a worthy addition to the list.

Equally obscure names will be Shay Healy, an Irish songwriter and broadcaster whose dreamy 'When You Become Stardust Too' closes the set, and veteran American troubadour Dave Mallet whose' Summer of My Dreams' is featured here. Unless you were a child of the 60s, the name Jesse Lee Kinkaid won't mean much either, but he was singer with The Rising Sons, a 1964 LA folk-rock outfit which also featured Taj Mahal and a 17-year-old Ry Cooder and wrote 'She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune', covered in faithful manner here, which was recorded by Hearts and Flowers, the line-up of which included future Eagle Bernie Leadon.

The other credits are mostly well-known country, folk and blues singer-songwriters, among them Merle Haggard ('The Running Kind'), Jesse Winchester ('That's What Makes You Strong'), Charlie Rich ('Anywhere You Are'), Guy Clark (a dappled, summer lazing reading of 'Some Days You Write The Song') and, inevitably, Dylan ('Tomorrow Is A Long Time') while the rock n roll archives are mined for Johnny Restivo's only hit, 1959's 'The Shape I'm In' (penned by Lee Cathy and Otis Blackwell) and Buddy Holly's 'Tell Me How', the B-side of 'Maybe Baby'.

The remaining number is a bit of a surprise among the company it keeps, being a TexMex tinged countrified clicking percussion arrangement of Jimmy Cliff's 'Sitting In Limbo' that works remarkably well. As I've said before, this isn't on the cutting edge of country or Americana, but, good music, well sung in a relaxed, laid back and inviting manner, it should be much in demand at country music clubs far and wide.

Mike Davies