So last week we had some Canadian gunslinging with the wonderful The Guess Who. Firepower has been a relative constant in music over the years, inevitably providing musicians with powerful references. Looking back at the my favourite music, there’s one album I re-listen to on a regular basis, as it’s one of the most memorable albums in my collection.
We’re going back to 2000 when Glitterhouse released the debut album from ex actor and truly enigmatic singer songwriter Ramsay Midwood – he’d once acted as an understudy for Gary Sinise for a production of The Grapes of Wrath in Chicago and he’d acted in some forgotten TV soaps. Deciding acting wasn’t for him, he then moved to Los Angeles and met up with fellow singer songwriter Randy Weeks, who produced this album. The connection? Not only is it called “Shoot Out at the OK Chinese Restaurant” but it also contains a wonderfully dark and brooding gun revenge fantasy track called “Spinnin’ On This Rock”.
Other songs on the album include the wonderful ‘Monster Truck’ about trying to fit in and not being bothered including the immortal lines “I think I’ll go out and eat a cow and if you don’t like it you can kiss my ass, ‘cause I drive a monster truck”! But the track we’re featuring is ‘Feed My Monkey‘– a gorgeous blues shuffle.
The songs on this majestic album are a mixture of sad, sardonic and fun, with his laid back vocal stylings and a feel reminiscent of Tony Joe White, later Tom Waits and JJ Cale. Musicians on this album include Foo Fighters’ Rami Jaffe, bassist Sheldon Gomberg, and drummer Don Heffington. It’s a mighty selection of twelve musicians, all at the top of their game. He’s not been the most prolific of artists and has only made a couple more albums – both of which are worth a listen. I had the great, good fortune of interviewing Midwood around his debut release at the much missed 12 Bar Club and he was a gloriously laid back, but vastly entertaining guy. Then I saw him performing live with Randy Weeks and a band in a Kingston pub and it was utterly mesmerising.
It’s weird why some albums stay with you – but this one captivated me on first hearing and it still does now, some twenty years later.
Owns a honky tonk in Austin now and sings on a regular basis.
Thanks Steve – I’ve seen that – I keep up with his intermittent Facebook postings! Just wish he recorded a little more! He’s a really laidback guy – but we could do with a new cd soon!!!
What a brilliant musician, and super nice, genuine human being
You’re so right Maurice. When I met him his laid back coolness made me adore his music even more. And live, he’s something else!
Had the pleasure of seeing Ramsey at The Musician in Leicester…about a dozen of us in the audience!
Great venue to see him Paul! Ramsay was due to tour about a decade back I seem to remember – but he cancelled the tour just before he was due to arrive. Such a shame.