You are hereAlbum Review: Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three - Middle of Everywhere (Continental Song City)
Album Review: Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three - Middle of Everywhere (Continental Song City)
With just a single spin of MIDDLE OF EVERYWHERE it would seem that Pokey LaFarge has successfully mastered the art of time-travel. One would imagine that Pokey's garage, should he indeed own one, contains a selection of complex machinery engineered for the purpose of commuting from present to past with the anxious flick of a modified kitchen light-switch. Glance over the sepia-toned inlay photographs of Pokey wearing a Fedora and Crombie and you'll be forgiven for thinking that this man has just returned from a shopping trip to the 1920s. And it seems, whilst he was there, he had time to share a bourbon with W.C. Handy, Alberta Hunter, Bessie and Louis. But whilst these songs might be dressed in old clothes, all thirteen of them are newborns, fresh from the pen of LaFarge himself.
Those of us who are partial to a bit of old-time jazz and blues but crave something shiny and new amongst all that roadside dust and vinyl static will, no doubt, love this record. Amongst the sweet harmonies of Head to Toe, the feel-good western swing of So Long Honeybee, Goodbye, the shuffling percussion and slide guitar on Sunny Side of the Street and that good old St. Louis brass on Feels So Good, there lies a newness, a distinct breath of fresh air that proves that Pokey LaFarge is no throwback, he's just showing us that there's a lot more life left in the old dog yet. Tilt your head slightly and you'll note the shrinking gap between this hundred year-old musical style and the recent releases of the Arctic Monkeys, Jack White and The Strokes. Pokey might sound like Robert Johnson on Coffee Pot Blues but, while our women are still leaving us and the whiskey's still there to numb the pain, it's only natural that even us 21st century kids turn to our old friend the blues.
Thankfully, Pokey's brand of blues, like R. Crumb's, Leon Redbone's and Ry Cooder's before him, is infused with a sense of humour that gives the album a happy-go-lucky, optimistic feel that might just put that time-machine into retirement and give us something to look forward to.