Review: Paul Thorn – Pimps and Preachers, Eddie Turner – Miracles and Demons
Posted on: Friday, Sep 17, 2010
Paul Thorn “Pimps and Preachers”
Eddie Turner “Miracles and Demons”
THE good vibes that wend their way to these pages from Betsie Brown and Blind Raccoon in Memphis are always worth a listen, although, in truth, they often stray away from the blues.
Paul Thorn’s “Pimps and Preachers” is not a blues album at all. Pigeon-holers would probably file it under ‘americana’ but there’s surely enough here to interest discerning devotees of the good stuff. First of all there’s a ringing endorsement by Bonnie Raitt, no less. “He’s funny, he’s sexy, he’s witty and he’s a great songwriter,” she enthuses. “I figure he’s gonna grease the pan for me.” Well, that should do the trick!
In fact, what we have here is a mixed bag of delights so typical of an album by Ms Raitt herself, the rocking, the raunchy, the sweet and the soulful.
Thorn’s songs are lyrically strong and thought-provoking, occasionally laced with well-observed humour. At other times he bares his soul.
His own cover painting of a sultry southern street scene where a motley crew of sinners and the righteous gather at the corner of Redemption Lane and Turn Out Boulevard is the backdrop for the amazing autobiographical title track. He gets all personal again – but this time with a grin – on the wry “I Don’t Like Half The Folks I Love.” “I Hope I’m Doin’ This Right” is a nod to Hank Williams, “Love Scar” touching and sad, “You Might Be Wrong” a timely reminder of the intransigence in all of us while closer “That’s Life” could easily be turned into the mellow moment on the next album buy a certain Ms Raitt.
“Pimps and Preachers,” amazingly, is Thorn’s ninth album and released on his own Perpetual Obscurity label. Life, as they say, isn’t fair.
Meanwhile, self-styled ‘devilboy’ Eddie Turner dishes up a heady brew of spooked-up blues on the perfectly titled “Miracles and Demons” (Northernblues music). This is thoroughly 21st century stuff, showcasing Turner’s exceptional, evocative and always expressive guitar playing which sees him cast as voodoo child exploring the soulful, the funky and the psychedlic with razor-sharp attitude.
Confidence oozes throughout in what is an ultra-clean sounding recording, produced by Kenny Passarelli who fills in with gorgeous keyboards to produce a truly atmospheric affair.
Check out the original and inspired “Blues Fall Down Like Rain” for a perfect sample of the Turner manifesto. Funky scratch guitar heralds a sudden crashing and insistent drum backing underpinning Tunrer’s soulful vocal which soon interplays with thoughtful guitar phrasing, full of slide and harmonics.
A colleague suggested Turner can’t make his mind up whether he wants to be a Delta blues player or Prince. He is certainly is a showman but he pulls it all off with swaggering aplomb.