You are hereAlbum Review: Des Horsfall's Kuschty Rye - The Good Gentleman's Tonic (Valve Analogue Recordings)
Album Review: Des Horsfall's Kuschty Rye - The Good Gentleman's Tonic (Valve Analogue Recordings)
In this homage to the late Ronnie Lane, Des Horsfall presents a beautifully packaged album inspired by the Small Faces/Faces legend, with ten roots rockers including the traditional Careless Love, a song familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in the music of Ronnie Lane, the song that opened Lane's classic debut solo album in 1974. With Horsfall's three-piece band, Kuschty Rye, named after one of Lane's songs, Andy McKerlie and Katriona Gilmore contribute some multi-instrumental support, along with a handful of 'glorious guests' including Charlie Hart on fiddle and accordion, Steve Simpson also on fiddle, Slim Chance stalwart Benny Gallagher on vocals and harmonica, Ian Alverson on Dobro and guitar, PJ Wright on Dobro and pedal steel and Hannah James on accordion.
Produced by Andy Bell in Yorkshire, presumably with lots of Yorkshire tea brewing down at Valve Studios, THE GOOD GENTLEMAN'S TONIC takes us on musical journey across a Slim Chance landscape, inspired by the music of Ronnie Lane with a handful of songs including seven Horsfall originals, encompassing various diverse musical styles including a nod towards the blues with the aforementioned Careless Love and Hard Woman, a venture into Louisiana Cajun territory with the jaunty Nothing New as well as a healthily nostalgic look at 1970s style pop/rock with Random Acts of Kindness, Little Girl and the topical No One Talks, a lament to the dying art of human communication. All the songs are presented in a thoroughly captivating travelling show-style manner, enhanced by a couple of short instrumental workouts and the album's ultimate gem, the delightful Unwinese Mix.
Reminiscent of Happiness Stan, the b side of the Small Faces classic 1968 concept album OGDEN'S NUT GONE FLAKE, a suite of songs interspersed with surreal gobbledigook delivered by Professor Stanley Unwin, the 24-minute Unwinese Mix includes a handful of songs already heard on the album but re-visited with some familiar deeply joyful dialogue, this time courtesy of Unwin's son John Unwin, telling the story of how THE GOOD GENTLEMAN'S TONIC came to be made. The suite ends with a fine interpretation of one of Lane's classic songs The Poacher.
If the album manages to slip through the net at whatever suitable awards are available this year on musical terms, then it really should win first prize in design, with a sleeve that deserves some attention. Just as the horrible little CD is slipping out of fashion in a world of digital downloads and a return to vinyl and the lamented gatefold LP sleeve, along comes something that could rival those ancient works of art. Magnificently packaged in hard back booklet form, complete with text you can actually read, the case also includes an additional pouch containing a Yorkshire Gold tea bag complete with gold key, concealed within a golden envelope. This therefore will take its rightful place on the LP shelf next to Ogden's, where it will be in good company.