Friday, November 23, 2018

Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans, Davey Woodward And The Winter Orphans, 2018

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Davey Woodward is an incredible musical mimic and a talented guitarist and songwriter. He can sound like Lou Reed or Bob Dylan, and what's even cooler is that he can write songs that sound like songs they might have written. In addition, there are some wonderful songs on his new album, Davey Woodward And The Winter Orphans, that are very much in his own voice.

The UK-based Woodward has been part of England's alternative music scene since the mid 70s and has fronted bands like The Hybrids, The Experimental Pop Band, and Karen.

Karen released the Filwood Broadway EP earlier this year; and, because Woodward had a new batch of songs that he wanted to record right after he finished the EP, he put together The Winter Orphans. This new band (which included musicians he had never worked with before) included Julian Hunt on guitar, Mark Van Vasey on bass and piano, and Steve Dew on drums. After five rehearsals, they recorded the basic tracks for the album over a weekend last year.

The new album starts out with the Velvet Underground vibe of "Caroline," but it's on "Girl In The Hoops" that we really enter Loaded territory. "What's goin' on," he sings  -- a reference to the VU's "What Goes On" from that band's third, self-titled album, perhaps?

It's the same thing with "Build A Boat." The song introduces a Dylan-like sound, but it's with "Tangerine Dream" where the mid-60s sound of the original Tambourine Man before he went electric comes out in full force in both voice and lyrics: "I'll take all your flattery / I'll take all your jibes / I'll take all your flattery / But, honey, why won't you be my bride?"

And it's on the killer track "Dylan's Poster" and its mashup of both the Reed and Dylan influences on Woodward that it all comes together. The song lifts a riff from "Sweet Jane" and adds Dylan-like lyrics about a cool girl who knew all the best music and knew how to play it, too: "1950's polka-dot dress / You show me guitar licks and I'm impressed" and the line, "I don't make the same mistake twice" is obviously a tip of the hat to the Bob's "Don't Think Twice It's All Right." Woodward and the band rock the track, and the mariachi horns are a perfect addition to the mix. When I first heard this song, I couldn't help but think of Wesley Stace's "A Canterbury Kiss" which is also about a cool girl who knows all the best music.

Elsewhere on the album, the moving trio of "Tantilise," "Horrors Cope," and "Troubles Of My Times" showcase Woodward's own very special voice.

The bouncy but dark "Tantilise" gives us a man recovering from a heart attack with a young woman (perhaps a nurse?) in his midst: "He wants to touch / Her young bare legs / But instead / He reads a book." When he does attempt to touch: "And her screams / Could be heard / On the moon / From the earth." The Winter Orphans are in fine form on this track.

In "Troubles Of My Times," with a solo Woodward on acoustic guitar, the narrator realizes he might not be the central person in the lives of others: "And when someone / Mentions my name / I forgive you / For saying 'Who's that?' / But in my mind I was the most important thing."

Davey Woodward And The Winter Orphans is out now on Tapete Records.

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