Sunday, 6 March 2016

Ricky Warwick - “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues) / Hearts On Trees” (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length x2
Date Released: 26/02/2016
Label: Nuclear Blast



Some of the writing is rather tender, some rock out (with a small “r”) but all of it is high quality. If you fancy a change from listening to droning sludge, negative black metal, or you just cannot stop listening to Motorhead after Lemmy's passing then this album could be a welcome relief.  The production is great; superbly played and sung with great melodies and most of all great songs.  Such song writers need your support, so why not try these records out and catch him live with whoever he is playing with. You won't regret it!

“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues) / Hearts On Trees”
CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. The Road To Damascus Street (4:13)
02. Celebrating Sinking (4:02)
03. When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (4:24)
04. Toffee Town (3:33)
05. That's Where The Story Ends (3:51)
06. Johnny Ringo's Last Ride (3:34)
07. Gold Along The Cariboo (3:58)
08. Son Of The Wind (3:04)
09. If You're Not Going To Leave Me (3:07)
10. Yesteryear (3:34)
11. Presbyterian Homesick Blues (3:41)
12. Tank McCullough Saturdays (3:45)
13. Psycho (2:51)
14. Hearts On Trees (3:46)
15. Said Samson to Goliath (5:35)
16. Way Too Cold For Snow (3:33)
17. Schwaben Redoubt (3:25)
18. The Year Of Living Dangerously (3:58)
19. Disasters (2:59)
20. 82 (2:47)

The Review:

Not exactly the usual Sludgelord fare.... but this double album release is well worth your attention. Let's be clear: this is not metal. It is not punk. However, Ricky Warwick's links to both of those genres are inextricable. Warwick started his career in New Model Army and then went on to form and have great success with The Almighty (who morphed with the times from G 'n' R to Therapy? to The Clash and so on).

Since 2003, Warwick has been a solo artist of the singer/songwriter variety; think somewhere between Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen but by way of Belfast and you are in the right ball park. He also fronts Black Star Riders, of course, and has made two storming records with them.

This double album sees Warwick in full on rock mode for ten tracks and then acoustic mode for the latter disc. I prefer the acoustic half, but that is just me. The production is great; superbly played and sung with great melodies and most of all great songs. The nostalgic likes of the electric disc's title track and the acoustic half's “Tank McCullough Saturdays” tap a rich vein of Belfast tales, harking back to the seventies. Warwick co-writes on a few of the tracks here, writes solo on others and does a very mean “Psycho” with no writing input from him. Andy Cairns of Therapy? (another Belfast boy) pops up on “Celebrating Sinking” (great title) while “Johnny Ringo's Last Ride” has tall tales of tough guys in Northern Ireland, also with a string punk styling in the presentation. The likes of the acoustic half's title track “Hearts on Trees” is kind of Irish inflected Americana, while two cranes speak to each other on “Said Samson and Goliath” at the docks.

Some of the writing is rather tender, some rock out (with a small “r”) but all of it is high quality. If you fancy a change from listening to droning sludge, negative black metal, or you just cannot stop listening to Motorhead after Lemmy's passing then this album could be a welcome relief. The two discs come as a pair; Warwick is a prolific and consistent songwriter. I am a huge fan; I still rank “Crank” by The Almighty as one of the best records from my youth (and, well, in general, really) and saw Warwick play to around seven people in Leeds in 2003 at the New Roscoe when he was starting out on the comeback trail. Pleasingly, I last saw him at Sheffield Arena supporting Whitesnake and Def Leppard just before Christmas last year. He is an engaging and charismatic performer in either setting. I can tell you that his live show is superb and he comes across as a down to earth and likeable bloke. Such song writers need your support, so why not try these records out and catch him live with whoever he is playing with. You won't regret it!

“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy and Hearts on Trees” is available now


Band info: rickywarwick

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