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'Country Darkness Volume 2 (EP)'   

-  Label: 'Fretsore Records'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '5th June 2020'

Our Rating:
The UK duo's four-track EP continues where Volume One left off, with cherry-picked compositions from Elvis Costello's back pages.

Once again, Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish collaborate with Costello’s long time keyboard-player Steve Nieve to give the project an indisputable seal of approval.

A recording of Nieve's solo piano pieces were sent from his home in France to producer Colin Elliot back in England and then worked up into full band arrangements.

The four tunes had to lend themselves to a duet treatment as well as having a country-soul character. The selections were honed down from a much longer list of around twenty five.

Either Side Of The Same Town from the Delivery Man (2004) is a song in much in the same vein as Dan Penn's The Dark End Of The Street while I Lost You from National Ransom (2010) was co-written by Nashville singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Here, Lauderdale's guitar riff is replaced that with Steve’s arpeggiated piano motif. The latter all sounds fairly bright and bushy-tailed considering it's a song about "A fool who took his pleasure and threw it all away"

The earliest song is Different Finger a honky- tonker from Trust (1981) which is extended and subjected to a Marty Robbins makeover, and features Piero Tucci on accordion.

Still Too Soon To Know from Brutal Youth (1984) was covered in 2016 by Darlene Love and Bill Medley in a 60s soul style complete with saxophone backing. My Darling Clementine return closer to Costello's dramatic version with a more broody atmosphere to bring out the full darkness of the original.

Although written for one voice, the quartet of songs all work well as conversational or dueling duets. A nice record but a shame it's so short.

My Darling Clementine's website

  author: Martin Raybould

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MY DARLING CLEMENTINE - Country Darkness Volume 2 (EP)