Friday, November 6, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: GORDIE MACKEEMAN AND HIS RHYTHM BOYS - LAUGH, DANCE & SING
Things do open up with an instrumental, the traditional Ridin' the Fiddle, which no doubt the encyclopedic MacKeeman learned from King Ganam, the great Western (Canadian) player from the '40's to the '60's. Here the band adds its own touches to the speedy piece, with a some clip-clop percussion. We get into the vocals right after that, with a great choice, the somewhat obscure Gene MacLellan number, Song to a Young Seagull. Not only do they pay tribute to the excellent P.E.I. songwriter, they do it with a surprising, rockabilly piece with a typical wise MacLellan lyric on top. Guitar ace Peter Cann joins in with a number of his own, Cavan Road, more in the folk-pop world, MacKeeman sounding sweet in the solos. Then it's back to classic fiddling for a bit, with Gordie's own Dusty Derby, a strong melody on top of percussion that sounds half-way between step-dancing and hip-hop beats.
Other notables along the way include Hot Vacation, one that MacKeeman wrote and sings, with twangy guitars and cheesy organ, straight out of the garage band '60's. And a cover they've been doing life for a bit, Tom Petty's King's Highway, is a gem turned into banjo-fuelled bluegrass. Ably produced by Dale Murray (Christina Martin, Cuff the Duke), this is as much a rock album as a fiddle one, as a folk one as a roots one, with MacKeeman especially showing you can do all that and still be a great traditional player.