D.H. Lawrence & The Vaudeville Skiffle Show
Album: Escape This Wicked Life
Label: Back Porch
Tracks: 6

Self-styled “Up-Northicana”, or quality folk-enriched Americana from the British heartlands (=Bagthorpe in Nottinghamshire!) is what you get from this exceedingly quirkily-named combo; the only element of their name that audibly rings true is the skiffle, and then only occasionally – although at times there’s also a cheeky wit to their presentation that smacks of the vaudeville (as on the barroom-singalong-style White Jesus, where they’ve clearly overdosed on the moonshine liquor). But it’s on tracks like the opener Bluebird, where DHL&TVSS are at their most persuasive: not least cos they’ve a pair of talented and charismatic vocalists in “Sister Stevie-Leigh” (Stevie-Leigh Goodison) and “The Reverend D. Wright” (Daniel Wright), the lineup being completed by the cryptically-named Misk Hills Mountain Rambler – whom I swear I’ve seen playing solo somewhere – and Minin’ Bill Kerry.

Actually, Stevie-Leigh’s pared-down own-composition The Pretty Girl With The Golden Hair, which closes the EP, is quite possibly the finest of the six original songs on show here, even tho’ I wouldn’t want to be without Honey or the haunting Sad Eyed Latinos (both penned by Bill) either. Instrumentation is mostly straight, direct banjo and guitar, with occasional scratches on the ol’ washboard, and some guest fiddle or accordion on several cuts. Well, this six-tracker has certainly stirred my interest, and a full-length album surely can’t be too far away.

David Kidman