Sunday, October 9, 2011

REVIEW: Henry's Funeral Shoe - Donkey Jacket

Henry's Funeral Shoe is a Welsh duo, brothers Aled and Brennig Clifford, that plays hard blues rock. They are the kind of self-taught, dedicated musicians who show their influences but bring the result to life in their own way. Their second record, Donkey Jacket, will be released on Alive Naturalsound records on October 11. The first thought I had upon doing a little research on these guys was to congratulate the person whose idea it was to bring them to Detroit to work with the great Jim Diamond, who's helped bring to life records by the White Stripes, Dirtbombs and The Pack a.d.

The first song, "Be Your Own Invention", brings to my mind the great riffs of songs like "La Grange" and "I Just Wanna Make Love To You"... in fact, sometimes these two sound like they've subsisted on a steady diet of Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters for years and years. The onslaught continues with "Love Is A Fever", and then we have an affecting, well-played blues ballad: "Bottom To The Top". As a change of pace, it serves very well, with acoustic and slide guitar behind a raspy vocal. Perhaps in addition to their Muddy Waters, these kids found their way to Beggars Banquet. Nothing wrong with influences and inspirations like that...

Henry's Funeral Shoe -Bottom To Top by alivenaturalsound

"Anvil and Chains" is another hard blues workout, with some inspired blues harp, another wicked guitar riff and growled vocals. Then comes the centerpiece, "Dog Scratch Ear", to my ears the best vocal on the record, which does the quiet intro (well, relatively quiet) until the guitar hits hard about a minute in, then it alternates quiet/loud with a few spots where the guitar and drums hit together, chugging like a train, calling to mind some good hard Southern rock.

They're offering a free download of "Dog Scratch Ear" here.

There's plenty of variety in tempo and a few more ballads, including the truly pretty closer "Across the Sky". I'm impressed with Henry's Funeral Shoe: their obvious talent, their approach and certainly, this fine collection of songs.

Here's a video from this summer's Binic Festival in France:

Henry's Funeral Shoe Website

1 comment:

kids jackets said...

Cool! There's a song about donkey jackets. I haven't heard the song yet but I will later.