Various: Man of Somebody's Dreams: A Tribute to Chris Gaffney (YepRoc/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Tom Russell: If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy
Various: Man of Somebody's Dreams: A Tribute to Chris Gaffney (YepRoc/Southbound)

The late Chris Gaffney was not only a member of the justifiably acclaimed Hacienda Brothers (whose albums What's Wrong With Right? and Arizona Motel have been Elsewhere favourites), but he was a gifted songwriter who could write across many Americana idioms from country to norteno polka, rock'n'roll to soulful r'n'b.

He also made a lot of friends as he toured relentlessly, among them Dave Alvin who here gathers a stellar cast as a tribute to his fallen comrade. Among those lining up to play his songs here are Joe Ely, Boz Scaggs, Los Lobos, Peter Case, Tom Russell, Freddy Fender, Calexico, the Iguanas, James McMurtry, Dan Penn, Alejandro Escovedo, John Doe, Robbie Fulks . . . . Pretty much everybody who is anybody in the Elsewhere/Americana/alt.country world in fact.

That may tell you all you need to know, other than if you've never heard of Gaffney then here is the persuasive evidence of his songwriting as each of those very different artists finds a way into a Gaffney song in which their own voice sounds at home.

The final two tracks -- the aching I'm So Proud by Dan Penn and Gaffney himself with Guitars of My Dead Friends -- are so woobly in the vocal department that they could sound almost laughable, but they are in fact further proof that it ain't how you sing it's the way how you sing it. They sang from the heart not the throat.

From Tex-Mex to white boy soul, Chris Gaffney (1950-2008) commanded a lot of territory.

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

Possessing the same kind of intimate, engrossing voice of Nick Drake and with an equal interest in hushed, dreamlike ballads where death, and the transitory nature of life and love are themes, Josh... > Read more

Spiro: Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (Real World/Southbound)

Spiro: Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (Real World/Southbound)

Given the similarity of the styles – repetition, if nothing else – it should come as little surprise that some instrumental folk music can be alarmingly close to the minimalism of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Sweet Kale Salad by Womad 2014 guest Makana from Hawaii

Sweet Kale Salad by Womad 2014 guest Makana from Hawaii

Hawaiian guitarist Makana -- who is one of the guests at the forthcoming Womad in Taranaki -- offers a slack-key style of blues, jazz, Hawaiian and bluegrass sounds. He turned professional when... > Read more

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman Smith was an unlikely chart-topper when he knocked Elton John off the top of the US charts with this, his second single: he was 49 at the time and prior to that his career had been firmly on... > Read more