The Deslondes “Hurry Home” (New West Records, 2017)

Five divergent musicians who eventually found each other in New Orleans, The Deslondes follow up their impressive 2014 debut album with the equally fine Hurry Home. Less country inclined than its predecessor the album finds the band roaming through a variety of styles – swampy southern roots, 50’s rockabilly, and classic rhythm’n’blues which, with several members of the band singing lead on various songs gives the album a truly dynamic feel. Comparisons to The Band and The Felice Brothers (which surfaced in reviews of the first album) will persist and that’s no bad thing and although The Deslondes are not as rough and ready as The Felice crew they’re handy reference points.

They open with the languorous Southern shuffle of Muddy Water,  a lonesome banjo is plucked before the band weigh in with a bar room feel amplified by woozy piano and dizzy pedal steel. A nostalgic look back at childhood days it is suffused with a mint julep front porch feel.  One Of These Lonesome Mornings immediately shatters that mood as the band leap into an up-tempo number that suggests The Everlys being backed by The Flying Burrito Brothers and this retro feel is revisited on the dramatic flourishes on (This Ain’t) A Sad Song which have a touch of the exotica so beloved by fifties tin pan alley writers with the song almost a mambo. There’s a similar approach on Many Poor Boy, the twangy guitar writhing like a snake around the slow Latin beat, the piano keys almost dancing a Tango, the singer sounding like Lee Hazlewood.  The swoon factor continues on the guitar glistened Ribbon Creeks Collide which instrumentally approaches the dream like reveries of Angelo Badalimenti but is grounded by the earthy vocals and streetwise lyrics while Nelly could be a Ricky Nelson number with Garth Hudson on organ.  Going back to Band comparisons several of these songs would not have been out of place on their covers album, Moondog Matinee.

Elsewhere there’s the simple guitar and harmonica love song, Beautiful Friend, a delightful confection while Hurry Home is a syrupy slow mixture of harmonica, piano and organ with the vocal harmonies here hailing from The Appalachians. They shake it up with Hurricane Shakedown which rattles along like a sixties beat number with a wonderfully cheesy organ solo and there’s more mayhem on Every Well with the keyboards here a merry go round of kaleidoscopic fun. They do venture into some Country sounds on the dreamlike Many Poor Boy which sounds as if Gene Autry had taken some mescaline before venturing into the desert, meanwhile the closing Deja Vu And A Blue Moon rewinds the listener to the opening number as again the band lay down a swampy slow rhythm with lazy fiddle and harmonica almost soporific, the song limping along with a swell Southern sense of lassitude.

Overall, Hurry Home is perhaps one of the finest roots albums released this year, the band sucking in all sorts of influences and forming them into what is, at the end of the day, a fantastic listen.

Author: Paul Kerr

Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.

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