Album review

Malcolm Holcolmbe 

Pitiful Blues

added: 2 Aug 2014 // release date: 4 Aug 2014 // label: Self Issued
reviewer: Andy Snipper

Malcolm Holcolmbe - Pitiful Blues - Printable version
As the name suggests, this ain’t an album for depressives but there is a joy and real feeling in the dark and moody numbers on this album.

Holcombe hails from North Carolina, actually born in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and his songs and playing seem to echo the hard upbringing and harder life of the farmers and other folks from that beautiful but tough region.

His voice is grizzled and he sounds at least 200 years old – as he intones at the beginning of ‘By The Boots’ , “Don’t take away my guns and bullets, don’t you leave me here to die … surviving’s what I’m trained to do and I’m fighting for my pride”; this is music from a place that most liberals and city dwellers wouldn’t get. But then you listen to the title track and his wheezing vocals seem to make it all clear, this is music from an old place with history and integrity. He brings the mood up sometimes too, like on ‘Sign For A Sally’ where the lyric takes you to a hot love affair carried on across all of Mississippi – “Mississippi Heats’s alive and well, smiling up the alley all black and white with a sign for a sally and a righteous fare thee well”.

This is the music that the likes of Seasick Steve have made popular recently but Malcolm Holcombe has more history and greater depth and darkness than most and the songs really do hit deep and hard – a superb album.

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4 stars

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