Album Review | Rafting Dog Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5
Blues-based at its core, Living in Clover feels like a concept album of sorts, with themed songs, a sense of reflection whilst at the same time a notion of forward thinking, with occasional sound effects adding to the atmosphere. Oysterband’s Alan Prosser collaborates closely with harmonica player Al Clarke on this intriguing collection of songs, such as the driving “Dream On”, setting out their stall with some bluesy harmonica and stomping rhythm. “Hold Back Time/Time Machine” maintains the ‘concept’ theme with a sense of urgency and drive. Although the songs are highly creative with mature lyrics throughout as well as thoughtful arrangements, the songs could benefit further with slightly stronger vocal performances in places.
“High Rise/Living in Clover” brings into focus the heart of the album, the resilience of the elderly, with a spoken interlude, a true voice of the people, “I’ve never been lonely, I’ve always been a happy woman, I’ve had no grub to eat, I’ve gorn without, it was a very very hard living but we got through”, a voice echoed once again at the end of the album. The instrumental “Jack’s Tune” is also reminiscent of the sounds of yesteryear, with a Max Geldray type harmonica solo, not unlike the musical interludes between sketches in the 1950s Goon Shows, whilst “Lazy Boy” becomes a dreamy interlude in itself, a delicate meditation almost shoved to the back of the class. Not perfect, but a thoughtful album nevertheless.
Choice Track: “Lazy Boy” (NSV 488)