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album of the week.

BEGGAR JOE Beggar Joe (C.A.T Records) w REMEMBER the shiver that ran down your spine first time you heard Ben Ottewell growl his way through a Gomez song? Well, maybe there's something in the water in the North West.

Because former Salford University students Beggar Joe, fronted by the distinctive vocal of Jon Kenzie, have just done it again. Their semi-plugged rootsy pop is a breath of fresh air.

In a music world dominated by fad and fashion, this is the genuine article - a fusion of folk, delta blues and jazz, with a side of soul. Think Ray Lamontagne by way of Paul Simon.

That such musical maturity should issue from a band in their late 20s and early 30s is remarkable. And let's not get into the fact that double-bass player Andy Brown is actually a Metallica fan.

Openers Puppet King and Sleeping City are dusty Americana, the latter the sort of thing that will have Robert Plant fans in raptures. Evil Concerns is surely a Gomez family relative.

But sweetly-sung Rely recalls Paul Simon, Ain't No Way develops a taste for funk, and finale Can You See finds Kenzie plugging in his guitar for a sublimely understated blues that beggars belief. PC
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Oct 18, 2009
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