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Jake Rodrigues: Lucky Spoon

We played this a couple of times before anyone hit the nail on the head, and that was (inadvertently) a grumpy chum, repeating the complaint of the elderly that old music is better, but like a stopped clock occasionally correct, specifically, of Radio Two: “Every song was a reminder of how pop music was; simple – a catchy tune with easy, flowing lyrics (and) accessible.”

And that’s what this is: a collection of tunes that sound like old 70s hits.

Context is important: Rodrigues is a busker who teaches and performs to both young with “songwriting and performing (that) builds bridges between ages and demographics”, says his website. Being a busker he’s also a one-man band, something you’d not guess from the sound on this enjoyable CD – but we bet he’s great live.

Musically it’s all over the place, as one might expect from a one-man band with tunes and beats for different moods and venues (and probably just the one album in him).

The title track is perhaps the one he plays for kids and pensioners, but we can see why he picked it as the title. As for the rest: opener Get Over is from the early ELO days, a cheerful and bubbly tune about a bright new day and all the instruments plus kitchen sink thrown at it, with piano, uke, Mr Blue Sky-style shout-backs from a megaphone and maybe even some brass (though possibly synth) and a long 70s fade-out.

Basking In Your Smile opens with piano and harmonica and nods to the Beatles (something he admits) and a chorus that could have been the tune to a David Dundas jeans ad or a 70s kids’ television show (David Dundas co-wrote Withnail and I, who knew?).

Change Your Mind is the Devil Went Down to Georgia busker-style, all fast and banjo, and Rodrigues producing a gravelly voice. A great tune in its own right, never mind comparisons. Awoken is a slow ballad, an earnest Gilbert O’Sullivan hit (as is Daft As Me). Wake Up Sleepy Heads nods to early Pink Floyd, a slightly psychedelic pop tune, while Luxury is a quirky late 60s hit with vocals through a megaphone. Gibbous Moon is a bit of a Don’t Worry Be Happy a capella tune (with mouth trumpet effects).

After a couple of very decent slow songs (#Bekind is excellent) the album closes with the Viv Stanshall-ish Cream of Tartar (in fact the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band can be heard as often as the Beatles).

Well worth checking out; he’s at jakerodrigues.com

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