Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Frazey Ford-Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean is the second solo album from Be Good Tanya's founder Frazey Ford, this is a record steeped in the rich tradition of southern soul. Recorded at the famous Royal Studios in Memphis it features the famous Hi rhythm section of Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass) and the late Mabon "Teenie" Hodges (guitar). The Hi rhythm section give the album a powerful grounding Mabon's guitar work is especially compelling highlighting his subtle tinges as well as his more dexterous blues style.

The elegant September Fields hits a strident tone in the face of darkness it's that journey to something more fulfilling,

You better get up for your mama
You better grab the best of your life
I know you're ready
To get older, anyhow
Well all you have to do is wander
Over fields of dark time
Where do you find yourself
Feeling lonesome
Do you reckon your body and mind
Down on earth by the streets at night

Charles Hodges brings the church to this one, swirling and cascading notes lifting the message. Leroy Hodges as a true bass player does lays the insistent groove that propelled the likes of Al Green and Syl Johnson among other Memphis luminaries.

Runnin sounds like it could have been recorded in 1974 some great melodic harmonies, it's Teenie's turn to supply some ornate guitar work. You're Not Free is despondent and sinister but hopefully like the greatest of all southern traditions solace can be found by the riverside, maybe it's the mighty Ole Miss as it snakes it's way through the delta offering up redemption.

You gonna go down to the water
And lay down in the tide
You'll lay your body down
And cry cry cry
Til you're free

Done is angry and resolute the Hodges brothers slowly burn through this one, taking their time and winding their way along with deft flourishes. All along underpinned by Charles' circling organ before Teenie provides one of his most powerful solos, there is a deep ache in that solo as it stands alone.

Well you criticise my numbers
You hammer out the rules
Wait for me to fuck up
And find yourself some proof
Oh whoa I'm done

You Got Religion allows the band to shine, Charles bringing it back to the church. Ford's vocal shimmers in it's more joyous tones the simple pleasures of life, listening to Aretha singing Spanish Harlem in a beautiful garden. Natural Law brings the tempo up and the funk in through the studio doors, Leroy gets the bass pounding, floating merrily around Fords breezy vocals. Frazey has an amazing voice it's clear that the surroundings have added a stirring element to her voice. The beauty of this album is it's seamless nothing is out of place and no song is just filler, every song resonates with a purity you don't often here.

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