Review: Mark Harrison – The World Outside

Posted on: Monday, Mar 24, 2014

Mark Harrison CD.png

Mark Harrison – The World Outside

(self-release)

Mark Harrison’s music has a unique Southern country blues flavour with folk blues and roots. This album showcases his talents as a writer and highlights some superb musicianship from the members of the band. All the tracks on the album are self penned by Mark.

The line up consists of Mark Harrison (lead vocals, guitars), Charles Benfield (double bass, vocals), Will Greener (harmonica, vocals), Josienne Clarke (vocals, sax, flute,) Ben Walker (mandolin, vocals), Ed Hopwood (drums, percussion), Guy Bennett (keys, vocals), Sonny (bass, vocal)

The first track, ‘Panic Attack’, gives us a taster of what we can expect from the album. Some great finger picking on guitar and mandolin with input from sax and harmonica. Mark brings a strong storyline in the well sung vocals with great harmonies. The next track ‘Long Gone Miles’, provided a bit of ‘déjà vu’ with flute playing on the intro’, (a touch of vintage Canned Heat maybe?) A great track anyway, with excellent mandolin playing again from Ben, with an interesting storyline, this time about a travelling Lightning Hopkins.

‘Your Second Line’ one of my favourite tracks on the album, provided some ‘stomp’ with great slide on the resonator guitar and vocals from Mark. Some perfect backing vocals and harmonies from the talented Josienne and some good harmonica input. Following this is a folk blues, ‘Run’, with simple but effective percussion and great finger picking guitar on the 12 string guitar, with the addition of a bit of slide guitar and Hammond input.

A simple rolling track ‘Big Mary’s House’ gives some great rhythms and magic slap bass. Nice harp input and excellent finger picking guitar with good vocal harmonies too. A change of pace on the following track ‘Not Alright’. Josienne has a beautiful voice and takes the lead vocal on this deep, folk blues number , with slide on the resonator guitar. A very moving track with some class harmonies.

Changing the tempo with the lilting ‘Where Ignorence Is Bliss’ a Dylan’esk country track. Great mandolin playing with flute, harmonica and well put together vocals. ‘Long Long Way’ is a lovely country song with acoustic intro and superb mandolin playing, the band then comes in with keys, harp and great vocal harmonies.

Now for something completely different. ‘In The Neighbourhood’, an up tempo 12 bar blues with a full on band sound, featuring sax, harmonica and a good ‘fuzzed’ electric guitar solo. Next ‘Floating Around’ is a folk blues number with Josienne on vocals. Beautiful harmonies with added flute and mandolin.

‘Numbers Game’ is a laid back blues with a story. Guitar and mandolin work well together on this track. The final track on this exceptional album is ‘Hard Times Now’ , an upbeat blues with Hammond, electric guitar and harmonica input. Another well put together track from these exceptional musicians.

A great easy listen album with superb vocals, guitar playing and story lines from Mark. Josienne has the voice of an angel and with her flute and sax playing she brings the ‘added extra’ to the album. The input of the rest of the band puts ‘musicianship’ well at the forefront. A well put together and well mastered album so if you like folk blues and roots it will make a good listen.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

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www.markharrisonrootsmusic.com

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