Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ivor S.K.: “Montserrat” (2017) CD Review

Montserrat is the first full-length CD by blues singer and songwriter Ivor S.K. (Ivor Simpson-Kennedy), following last year’s Delta Pines EP. Unlike that acoustic EP, this one makes use of electric instruments. However, like the EP, Ivor S.K. plays all the instruments on this album. He also wrote all the songs, the material encompassing several musical realms, not just strictly blues. And there are some damn good songs on this disc. I also have to mention one thing about the CD package that amuses me – the track list on the back of the case is presented as a menu, and the song lengths are listed as prices, on little white stickers, as if to say the prices had changed or perhaps often change. Ah yes, everything is in flux these days.

The album opens with its title track, “Montserrat,” a groovy blues number with a fun vibe. Check out these lyrics: “Everybody is cool/Man, you won't meet no affront/Immigration’s only policy is strictly no cunts/So come on, you said you want to know where I'm at/Look out, baby/Honey, I'm in Montserrat.” Well, that immigration policy means Trump and Pence and their associates can’t move there, and that means it’s a place we all want to be. It’s wild that Ivor S.K. plays all instruments on this tune, because it develops into a cool jam at one point, with some good work on guitar. This is an excellent start to the album, and it’s followed by “Don’t Say Goodbye,” which has a great raw bluesy folk vibe, like some of Tom Waits’ work. “Realized I been here too long/Just found out you've been doing me wrong/Don't say goodbye.” This one too has a cool little jam, and I’m still surprised there are no other musicians on this release.

This disc has quite a few surprises, actually. One of them is the third track, “Ain’t No Cross,” a song which just totally delights me. These are its opening lines: “I might be a killer/I might be a killer/Might sneak in your house about three/Kill you and your whole family/I might be a killer/I might be a killer/But at least/I'm not/A priest.” I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this song. It tickles me in all the right places. You know? It’s followed by “I Been Had,” which features a reggae beat, another surprise. Then “Take The Good With The Bad” has a delicious, raw feel, and a humorous bent in lines like “My woman don't look good/My woman don't smile/Ain't got no class/Ain't got no style/She can't cook/She can't clean/But she got more money/Than I ever seen/Ain't it sad/You gotta take the good with the bad.”

I’ve been itching to get back to New Orleans lately, and “Take Me Back To New Orleans” is making me think more seriously about making the trip. The song’s opening lines are “I wanna take you to a place I been/It's in Louisiana/It's called New Orleans/It's the city for me/It's the city for play.” I’m going to have to play this song for my girlfriend, for she has never been there and I’ve been talking about taking her. Hmm, it might be time to make a mix CD for the trip. “They got music that you won't believe/Funk, soul, blues, jazz/Man, whatever you need.” We need it all these days.

“Indianola” is an instrumental guitar tune (though at the beginning we hear Ivor say “One more time”). Something about this tune raises my spirits. The CD then concludes with “Good Mawnin’ Judge,” a playful story about a criminal who meets his judge on somewhat equal ground. It’s a good song, and at the moment I can’t help but think about Judge Roy Moore, and how that fucker ought to end up in jail. “I said good mornin' judge/I'll meet ya at the county jail.”

CD Track List
  1. Montserrat
  2. Don’t Say Goodbye
  3. Ain’t No Cross
  4. I Been Had
  5. Take The Good With The Bad
  6. It’s Raining
  7. Take Me Back To New Orleans
  8. Murder Tonight
  9. Indianola
  10. Good Mawnin’ Judge
Montserrat was released on May 26, 2017.

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