Gregory Grene,
(Grab, 2008)

"Work's Too Bloody Hard" sounds initially as though the record was made in a back shed. Gregory Grene soon dispels that notion, however, with some well-produced sounds.

"Whiskey Asylum" proves his credentials early on. This is classic writing by a new writer. Give it fair airplay and this could be in the repertoire of every singer worth his salt.

"Liverpool Pandora" is a fascinating re-invention and addition to an old favourite. You get a line or two of the original, and then Grene is off at a brisk rate with a few verses of his own before slowing again -- and later taking us yet on another helter-skelter ride. He shows us his love of the canon by giving us heartfelt renditions of two traditional songs, starting with "The Jail of Cluan Meala" accompanied on accordion. "Nancy Brown" is another lovely old song that he gives us with a twinkle in his eye as he recounts the eponymous young lady's hold on to her virtue ... at least for a while.

Not quite traditional (but often thought to be) is Dominic Behan's "Liverpool Lou." Grene gives us a staid and respectful rendition of this, reminding us of the simple beauty of the old song so often murdered in pubs and lounges. He picks up the pace again on "Paper & Pins," another lovely story-song, and then leads us in a Kerry polka.

The abiding memory of this album is the humour as well as the professionalism that Grene brings to the songs. "Emily" -- or, as he subtitles it, "The GPS Lament" -- is a case in point with a lovely traditional sound, great performance and a light tale.

Gregory Grene's Flipsides is an album to hear.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

31 January 2009

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