Review: Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson – Do Tell

Posted on: Sunday, Aug 3, 2014

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Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson – Do Tell

(Manhaton Records: HATMAN 2033)

Here’s a splendid follow-up to Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson’s previous release, the award-winning “Wiley Ways” – and the Aussie bluesman and the Irish-born singer have produced another winner for sure with “Do Tell” – recorded in Melbourne, with production duties shared by the duo and the fantastic Australian guitarist Jeff Lang, who restricts himself to helping out on bass here.

The ten songs are all original, either co-writes or Hat Fitz compositions and encompass country blues, folk, and some stomping ‘old-time’ tunes. Apart from Hat Fitz on vocals, guitar and banjo, and Cara Robinson on vocals, drums, percussion, fife, flute and acoustic guitar, the rest of the musicians on board are the afore-mentioned Lang, Alison Ferrier (backing vocals), Anita Quayle (cello) and Jason Bunn on viola and fiddle.

“Do Tell” starts in fine style with the lovely “Friday Night”, which perfectly captures Robinson’s lovely rich voice, which contrasts with Hat Fitz’s deeper vocals – with some gritty slide guitar for good measure; it’s followed by the stomping mid-tempo blues of “Stray Hat”, with some nice uncredited harmonica. “Gotta Love” is like an old-time waltz, but brought up to date with another delicious gritty Robinson vocal and more tough slide guitar.

The great title cut, “Tell Me” rides on a nice guitar and vocal hook, and a Celtic-flavoured element is in the song too . . . if my ears don’t deceive me it’s about a fridge! Another gem is the ‘kick-ass’ romp of “Excuse Me” which fairly gallops along over its 2:09 duration . . . excellent, and I bet a blast live! The pace is taken down a little on the gentle rolling “99.9”, with shared vocals by the duo and another lovely catchy chorus.

The rocking “Shakedown” takes the tempo right up, with Cara Robinson’s fife playing giving it that North Mississippi hill country feel – another favourite for me. The very ‘old-time’, and bluegrass, sounding “Coming Home” wraps things up in fine style, with Fitz’s banjo to the fore . . . a lovely end to a most enjoyable and recommended release.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.hatfitzandcara.com

www.manhatonrecords. com

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