Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra’s fifth album is a homely offering. It’s not a classic release but it might encourage you to see them live.
The sound is cliched country and western, familiar to fans of Bob’s Country Bunker where the Blues Brothers were forced to play Stand By Your Man and Rawhide on repeat to appease a crowd who liked schmaltzy familiarity.
RHatTPO have that same cheesy sound (they even drop a whipcrack) but combine it with a knowing wink, a love for the music, and fine musicianship.
The title track opens, an old school rock n roll / bluesy western song with a simple toe-tapping beat. She Hypnotised Me is faster with some sax, as much a party record as anything else; it’s the first single.
There’s a bluesy feel throughout the album; closer The Doctor Told Me is an example, and like She Hypnotised Me boasts a wind instrument, in this case New Orleans-style trumpet.
The album is a mix of Western, blues, country, jazz, swing rock and roll and soul and there’s even a spot of yodelling on My Salad Days. Snip Snap Snout is Cajun / Zydeco; The Horse That You Rode In On is pure Tex Mex Western (who remembers Camouflage?); Right To Roam is a campfire song with harmonica.
The lyrics make sense and tell stories, whether it’s the effect of a wild woman on She Hypnotised Me (“When we go out drinking / Her charm lights up the room / Clock starts swinging / Room starts spinning / And I start howling at the moon”) or drinking too much in Go Home (“I’ve had whisky, gin, and wine / There ain’t nothing that I ain’t touched / Never seems to be a point in the night / When I’ve had enough”.
The Doctor Told Me is perhaps the same drinker a few years on, “The Doctor told me / If I have another whisky, I’ll die / But the bottle and the glass; I heard them clink…”
My Salad Days is more reflective (“Was it my pretentious conversation / That made her roll her eyes and leave? / Or my unhealthy fascination / To always cheat, lie, and deceive?”) as is The Horse That You Rode In On, which is not talking about an ‘orse ([The horse] “Doesn’t love you anymore / It’s taken off its blinkers / And bolted through the door”).
A Call To Mothers’ Arms is a sadly punning title about leaving home and going to war, “Some didn’t fly home with the other squaddies / They were carried on our shoulders off the plane.”
Quirky but entertaining.
Buy it here.
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