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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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LIANE CARROLL

Seaside

Linn AKD 533

 

 

1. Seaside

2. Almost Like Being in Love

3. Bring Me Sunshine

4. Nobody’s Fault But Mine

5. Get Me Through December

6. Mercy Now

7. Wild is the Wind

8. I Cover the Waterfront

9. My Ship

10. For Those in Peril on the Sea


Liane Carroll – Vocals, piano

Steve Pearce – Acoustic bass, bass guitar (tracks 1-4, 6, 9)

Ian Thomas – Drums (tracks 1-6)

James McMillan - Keyboards, flugelhorn, percussion, bass, tenor horn, vibes (tracks 1-7, 10)

Evan Jolly – Trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn (tracks 1, 6)

Andy Wood – Euphonium, trombone (tracks 1, 6)

Mark Edwards – Piano (tracks 3, 5, 9, 10)

Mark James - Acoustic guitars, electric guitars (tracks 4- 6)

Julian Siegel – Tenor sax (track 4)

Rob Leake – Baritone sax, tenor sax (track 6)

Malcolm Edmonstone – Piano (track 7)

Rob Luft – Guitar (track 8)


When I was a schoolboy, I often visited Hastings – a south-coast town which was readily approachable from my home by train. Liane Carroll was brought up in Hastings and she still lives there. You might say that this album was inspired by Hastings, although the immediate impetus for the CD was a song called Seaside, composed by Joe Stilgoe. Liane Carroll heard the song and “decided there and then to theme the whole album around my love of living in Hastings”. Liane chose some songs which referred to the sea or which she first heard when walking beside the seaside or on a ferry to France.

Thankfully she doesn’t sing as raucously as she did on the album Live at the Lampie, which I found too strident for comfort. Here she occasionally raises the roof at the climax of songs but generally she is restrained. In fact she approaches each song with care and often finds an unusual style to sing them in.

The title-track is poignant and skilfully arranged, with a brass band evoking memories of a seaside bandstand. Almost Like Being in Love is taken at a fast pace, and it allows Liane to scat – including one scat chorus unaccompanied. Bassist Steve Pearce and drummer Ian Thomas keep the temperature high. What is the connection with the seaside? Liane admits that she often introduces the song as Almost Like Being in Hove – a seaside resort along the coast from Hastings. By contrast, Liane delivers Bring Me Sunshine very slowly, making the lyrics seem more profound than they did when the song was used by Morecambe & Wise to sign off their TV shows. This is an outstanding performance. Mark Edwards’ piano solo scintillates gloriously.

Led Zeppelin’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine suits Carroll well with its bluesy mood. Julian Siegel’s tenor sax and James McMillan’s keyboards add to the funkiness. Get Me Through December has a folky feel, which Liane conveys well. So does Mercy Now, although its impact is lessened by Liane swallowing the lyrics. Malcolm Edmonstone’s brass arrangements add impact to Wild is the Wind.

Rob Luft’s multi-tracked guitar is the only accompaniment for Carroll in I Cover the Waterfront, a song in which Liane finds unexpected poignancy. One really believes that she is waiting by the sea, hoping that her lover will return. Rob’s guitar solo is magical. My Ship is a game of two halves: slow, tender meditation and up-tempo swinging scat, with another excellent piano solo by Mark Edwards, one of Britain’s finest. The album closes unexpectedly with the hymn For Those in Peril on the Sea. Again Liane’s emotional maturity enables the song’s full intention to come through, although recent tsunamis have introduced an acerbic undertone.

The producer for the album is James McMillan, Liane’s fellow Hastings resident, and the clear sound was achieved at his studio. For most tracks, Liane Carroll is listed as “vocals and piano” but there is another pianist or keyboardist on most tracks, so it is hard to know who is doing what. This is a pity, especially as it robs us of the chance to hear a typically lusty Carrollian piano solo.

This CD only lasts for 42 minutes but it has a varied richness which makes it worth as much as other discs containing twice as much.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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