Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Big Picture By Bap Kennedy.

Sunday evening and I'm listening to an album I bought about twelve years ago. I bought it through the late lamented Wavelength Magazine run by Simon Gee. Bap had signed a few albums for them. Before buying this album all I knew about Bap Kennedy was that he was in a band called Energy Orchard many years ago who had recorded an excellent version of Van Morrison's Madame George. I also knew he was the brother of Brian Kennedy. The reason I bought the album was that I had the great pleasure many years ago of meeting Carolyn Cassady and I often wondered what she was doing these days and lo and behold,up she popped on Bap's album. The opening track Rock And Roll Heaven begins with a few seconds of Brian Wilson style harmonising and then goes into a driving country rock beat with Bap name dropping nearly every dead singer that ever existed. The Truth Is Painful  is a slower introspective song with some nice whistle playing by Kieron Kelly and guitar by Paul Toner. Moriarty's Blues is what I came here for. It's a nice slow jazzy song. Moriarty as you know is Dean Moriarty the hero of Kerouac's On The Road and in real life Neal Cassady. His wife Carolyn reads a short extract from her book Off The Road and it is very nice to hear her voice again. Sadly Carolyn as well as Bap is no longer with us What a great lady she was.

Streetwise displays Bap's dry dark humour and Too Old For Fairy Tales has a country feel to it. Milky Way was co-written with another Belfast troubadour called Van Morrison. It is a wonderful song with a great instrumental break in the middle of it. You can hear Milky Way below if you scroll down. Alison Limerick provides some nice backing vocals to Loverman. There is a West Indian feel to Fireworks. The legend that is Shane MacGowan makes a small contribution to On The Mighty Ocean Alcohol . There are some very witty lyrics to The Sweet Smell Of Success. The best is saved for last with The Beautiful Country. It is a song only the Irish could write.

On the liner notes I see that a lot of the album was recorded at Wool Hall Studio's which is only four miles away from where I am right now. Van gave Bap the use of his studio. Bap also thanks Van without whom the album wouldn't exist. That shows what a nice person Van is under his gruff exterior. This album is highly recommended. Sadly Bap died just over a year ago and didn't achieve the recognition his talent deserved. A friend of mine sent me another great album by Bap called Howl On. I might write about that album on another evening.

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