Songdog “A Happy Ending” (Junkyard Songs, 2020)

Songdog, Lyndon Morgans and confederates Karl ‘Pod’ Woodward and Dave Paterson have released eight albums without rising above the radar. 2017’s ‘JoyStreet’ was well-reviewed with AUK’s own Jeremy Searle describing Morgans as a genius. Nothing on this new set would suggest that we need to change that view. Opener ‘Lavinia’ drifts past like a Celtic mist. The words set the tone for the album, ruminations on the passage of time and its effects on the soul.

An early highlight ‘G Flat Gumbo’ features Phil Burdett, an Americana singer form the Essex delta whose distinctive voice adds to a barrelling upbeat tune. Far bleaker is ‘God Don’t Believe In Me No More’ a mournful violin and painful lyrics. “Does the devil want me cooked or want me raw”, “things feel worse than when the Beatles split”. Songs like ‘Gina Asleep’ recalls an old love, met while walking her dog in the snow. The autobiographical feel of many of these songs, tales from gigs in ‘Me, Greta, Rosie and Mo’, nostalgia for old haunts in ‘The Cathedral On The Hill’ sets the whole album on a different level to much current music.

Who does Songdog sound like? Honestly, like no one else. The fusion of Folk, Celtic and Americana sounds and styles is seamless, meaning the album doesn’t have the jarring mismatches of sound that hampers a lot of similar records. His press release tells us that Bruce Springsteen and Robert Wyatt have praised his work in the past. Those comparisons are as good as any, not in terms of sound but the approach to songwriting and storytelling. The album ends with the bitter ‘A Cuckolds Lament’ and bittersweet ‘My Heart Woke Up And Whispered’, both masterpieces.

A fusion of Folk, Celtic and Americana and a highlight of the year so far
9/10

Author: Tim Martin

My new normal is spending most of my time sat in a shed in Clevedon (Somerset), waiting to be able to go back to Crianlarich (Scotland) and writing about music and other less interesting subjects. Over The Rhine, Judee Sill, and Alison Krauss help make the days go by. If you ask me tomorrow it will be someone different

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