If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending Lawrie Duckworth’s weekly slot at Barton Street Wine Bar in Bath, no doubt you’ll have been equal parts charmed and dazzled by the man’s stunning musical range. Suggestions are made by boozy onlookers; scream for something and chances are it’ll get played. Whatever he ends up performing – Elvis, John Denver, Billy Bragg, Harry McClintock, Fleetwood Mac, or The Kinks – there’s no doubting his passion for folk and country music, and the impressive array of muses he draws from.
It should come as no surprise then, that his debut album is a delightful ‘box of chocolates’ situation.
The opening tracks offer up equal amounts of whimsy and charm; The Ballad Of Captain Cook seeking to educate listeners on Cook’s disastrous excursion to Hawaii; Drink To The Sun seeing a man’s refusal to praise a burning ball of hydrogen despite admitting to its life-giving, life-taking power.
And yet, as the album progresses, kooky gives way to a serene clarity. The achingly beautiful Carried Away tells of a love almost lost, whilst the folk-infused Long, Long Time and Glory wouldn’t sound out of place in a Western tragedy.
Could more have been done to bridge the gap between the offbeat and the downright soulful? Perhaps, but Duckworth’s stunning vocals can easily handle the juxtaposition between impish, almost narrative lyrics, and bluesy salt and spite.
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