Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Carol Douglas - A Two Grand Wager

Hear The Track Here

Little did I know that when I first met Carol Douglas (then known as Bolton Song Bank) when reviewing Melancholy Country Blues (August 2004) that she would prove to be one of the most interesting songwriters Soundclick has thrown up. I use the term songwriter because Carol purely writes songs, then inveigles other people to breathe life into them. Its in the roll call of musicians she has collaborated with that is - besides the excellent songs - the mainstay of Carol's unique approach. With names like Nad Sylvan (When The Tide Rolled In), Maria Daines (Varog Varog!), Sahib (Money From The Satisfied Man) and Evan Paul Kozaris (Snowflake in a Flame) all should tell you she isn't one to mess about. For A Two Grand Wager Carol has teamed up with Australia's own Brian Ralston who is maybe more better known to us as SelfTort, no slouch in the songwriting department there either.

So, a match made in musical heaven? I should coco.

A Two Grand Wager is incredibly apt in these troubled financial times and is based on another financial fiasco, this time from the year 1836 when you could, apparently just go and get your own gold at the Bank of England. For more information on that, click me. From the get go it was obvious that Carol is a songwriters songwriter (if you know what I mean) and its a signal of her skill that so many talented musicians literally queue up to work with her. Even the merest glance at the lyrics of this track should show you that she has perfected her art, the pace and structure of the piece evident even by simply reading it.

The actual track is an incredibly detailed, richly textured mindmeld of folk and prog rock that sounds odd in black and white but works a treat in the flesh (as it were). If you are familiar with SelfTort's own work you will already know that this is a musician to be reckoned with and has much in common with my other favourite Aussie, David Pendragon. His work is always immaculately presented and performed with consummate skill. Although the musical lineup of the track is pretty basic, for sure what those instruments are up to is anything but basic. Considering the subject matter, and the lyrical flow for this track to work it could only have gone one way and that is what SelfTort obviously recognised and built on. It's quite a wordy piece and it took some time for the lyrics to properly settle in my brain but the music had me from note one.

Excellent traditional - but highly original - folk rock. Highly Recommended.

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