Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band: My Sweet Town (PB)

 |   |  1 min read

Paddy Burgin and Wooden Box Band: The Big Parade
Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band: My Sweet Town (PB)

Internationally successful guitar maker by day and guitarist by night, Wellington's Paddy Burgin last year got this very classy package which comes with a beautifully presented booklet of lyrics and a tie-in DVD by film-maker Costa Botes, the man behind the excellent film of the Windy City Strugglers, the up-close and personal footage of Nigel Gavin in his A Job with the Circus DVD, and the live film which accompanied Dave Murphy's Yes, That's Me CD/DVD package.

Burgin is equally deserving of such attention as this album -- gentle but probing lyrics delivered somewhere between James Taylor, Ry Cooder and less cynical Loudon Wainwright -- is an understated gem.

His guitar playing is revelatory: with ease he traverses blues, folk, slide, suggestions of Hawaiian sounds and old time jazz, touches of country . . . .

While many will find the four instrumentals intelligently placed throughout as the highpoints (notably the lovely Waikawa, or the late Davy Graham-like Wigtoft), there is also an interesting (and in the local singer-songwriter world, rare) depth to these lyrics.

The folksy Four Corners with its almost archaic language is based on letters between Sir Apirana Ngata and AH Reed in the Forties; and while Evelyn could be read as to a lost lover it is in fact a lyrically refined and lightly metaphorical tribute to the painter Evelyn Page. The Anglo-folk styled title track says more about the social and emotional cost of so-called "property developers" and their rapaciousness than any worthy Historic Places Trust report.

Willie Nelson could do worse than cover the languid but deep The Big Parade, it sounds written for him and Burgin delivers it in a manner akin to Nelson's behind-the-beat and deceptively lazy-sounding style. 

Assisting Burgin is a classy and sympathetic band (guitarist and banjo player Justin Clarke tours with Age Pryor, double bassist Tom Callwood is in Little Bushmen) which sometimes keeps its distance and simply interpolates telling saxophone, banjo or viola parts.

It appears here somewhat belatedly (I only just received it) but it is timeless, tasteful, intelligent and rewarding. It should travel far.

 

Share It

Your Comments

Ruairidh Morrison - Feb 18, 2009

Nice to read a review by someone who has clearly listened to the subject matter more than once

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

A decade ago it wasn’t easy to find collections of local rock’n’roll but today we’re tripping over them: John Baker’s excellent compilations of 60s garage band rock... > Read more

Into the East: Fight from the Inside (intotheeast.co.nz/Aeroplane)

Into the East: Fight from the Inside (intotheeast.co.nz/Aeroplane)

This duo might come from Southland in New Zealand but they could just as surely have found a foothold in the American Midwest with songs like the catchy On the Run (a slightly reshaped rockabilly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

They were the happiest days of my life, the poet recalls as he sits in winter-blown London."I was born in a little town called Chapelton in rural Jamaica," he says with what could pass... > Read more

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

There are no written records of the event, but we can speculate: the interior of the Tuff Gong Studio in Jamaica on a hot afternoon in 1980. Bob Marley and the Wailers are putting the final tracks... > Read more