Hurray For The Riff Raff @ The Borderline, London 10th September 2012
By: The Indie Dad
A rather special proposition, from what I’ve heard pre-gig, proves to be better even than the expectations I’ve already built up. Starting with “Little Black Star”, after handclaps and soft shoe-shuffle, the band take their more conventional positions on guitar, drums and fiddle for new album title track – the impossible to forget “Look Out Mama”. Both are down home treats – one a front porch lullaby, the other fitted out with charming yodelling.
Centre of stage and clearly central is singer songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra. Charming and real but with a confidence born in the knowledge that she has quality material to spare (and possibly built up with her rail riding explorations of the States in classic hobo style). You can take the girl out of the Bronx but apparently you CAN take the Bronx out of the girl as she sounds a lot more like a native of her adopted New Orleans home.
Taking material pretty evenly from first full album “Hurray For The Riff Raff” and LOM with a couple of covers and a new song thrown in, the set is strong from top to bottom. It’s by no means a one woman show; Alynda may be in charge but all the wheels on the wagon are in good shape. The band as a unit swing and bring a fuller sound to Country/Surf hybrid “Lake Of Fire”, one of a couple of tracks that push the Country envelope. That the other members were a unit before they hooked up with Alynda shows in their relaxed interaction.
The covers are good – Lucinda Williams‘ “People Talking” faring perhaps better than Townes Van Zandt‘s “Delta Momma Blues”. Even the heard a hundred times “Be My Baby” captures the pre-gun crime Spector innocence of the original. Perhaps the greatest treat is Alynda’s solo spot for new track “Small Town Heroes”, which seems to show that even stronger material is on the way, a mature ballad that shows how Blues and Country can work together as previously proved by the likes of John Prine, whom she quotes as an influence. From this glimpse it would appear the next album will be, astonishingly, even better.
Loose Records have a real talent here (they also have Jim White so it shouldn’t be too surprising) and the most exciting Roots artist I’ve heard since Josh T. Pearson.