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MUSIC: DAVE HOLE – Goin’ Back Down

| 19 April 2018 | Reply

MUSIC: DAVE HOLE – Goin’ Back Down
Only Blues Music
April 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Dave Hole’s guitar tone on Goin’ Back Down is to die for: ringing clear and pure, it’s a clarion call for the precision of his iconic blues slide playing, but rest assured he’s got plenty more under the hood than just that.

As anyone who has met the man will confirm, Hole is a genuinely nice chap – affable and polite and laid back to a fault. The same can be said of his songs on this tenth studio set – right up until you get to his explosive, sparks-will-fly playing.

Mostly self-produced, engineered and even played, Hole spent years building a home studio, then crafting these songs layer by layer – all apart from three which he recorded elsewhere with Bob Patient and a team of old friends in band form.

He also usually has something very interesting to say, and a lot of the material here is lyrically on point as well as musically.

Goin’ Back Down is bookended by two halves of a whole: Stompin’ Ground and the title track, which are basically the same song divided arbitrarily, with the lyrics staying in the former, and the latter being more of an instrumental outro.

These Blues Are Here To Stay is an absolute roarer of a tune, a six-minute excuse to let fly like a man possessed and give his slide guitar a bloody good workout. It rips the speakers a new one and leaves the listener a little breathless.

Measure Of A Man is a timely reminder to be the best we can, no matter the pressure we’re under – and a good many people could take a lesson from that.

Instrumental Bobby’s Rock and classic Shake Your Money Maker both come from Hole’s favourite, Elmore James, and keep the good times flowing, sounding effortless until that electrical-wire-gutar starts sending sparks flying. Used To Be is The Blues 101: a lament for just-about-lost love with Hole’s guitar providing the tears and a muted sax lending the song a Stax feel.

The wild cards here are Arrows In The Dark and Tears For No Reason. The former is very out of character for Hole – his vocals almost unrecognisable on this early Beatles/Gerry & The Pacemakers sounding slice of Merseybeat. His playing, too, is out of his normal comfort zone, sending this reviewer to scour the liner notes to see if Hank Marvin copped a credit (he didn’t).

The latter is a a revelation: an elegant and eloquent tale of a woman deep in depression, a beautiful acoustic ballad complemented by Jon Tooby’s cello. Gorgeously rendered with a gentle, understanding hand, it’s sure to strike a chord with the many of us who have been touched by depression, and enlighten those who haven’t. It might be Hole’s masterpiece.

Category: CD Reviews

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