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Review: 'Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire'

-  Label: 'ORG Music'
-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '13.10.23.'

Our Rating:
Thrills was the debut solo album by Andrew Bird after he left The Squirrel Nut Zippers, the album is in love with the old Hot Club De Paris late 1930's swing and speakeasy sound. The album has been re-issued as a double album, although the fourth side is an etching completing this beautifully packaged re-issue.

The A-side opens with Minor Stab that takes us straight into Hot club De Paris territory with a slow Spasm band style backing, as this tale of the darker side of life unfolds as that poor unfortunate Dame's life gets explored with a delicious cornet solo. With the fiddles coming in mimicking Stephan Grappelli's style nicely.

Ides Of Swing has stormy drums with the vocal introduction before the slow song starts to gently swing to get you in the mood. This is gently evocative.

Glass Figurine is statuesque with a very familiar sound to anyone who's listened to any Django Reinhardt records, perfect for some slow shuffling on the dancefloor as Andrew makes clear he's not going to stand still like that Glass Figurine.

Pathetique is just as sad a tale as the title suggests, he holds no grudges for the low-down dirty dog that's taken his place, as the trombone and violin soundtrack the whole sordid mess, as his mood lifts there is a nice upbeat interlude towards the end.

Depression-Passilo may need a good-sized ballroom to dance across while this plays, perfect for a formal dance with a slight Latin twist to it.

The B-side opens with 50 Pieces with a Klezmer meets Rebetika sound, as we find out what you'd do for those 50 Pieces of silver, as the violin mimics If I Were A Rich Man but takes it off in a slightly different direction.

A Woman's Life And Love has a sad down at heart intro, as the female vocalist pours out her heart at all the injustices in her love life. As it gets slower and sparser, she tells you how she wants to punish her miscreant lovers.

Swedish Wedding March opens at a funereal pace as the double bass and Violin accompany the happy couple down the aisle, ever so gently picking up pace as if the first schnapps of the day has been served Skal.

Eugene has shuffling percussion for the violin to float over as Andrew tells us what Eugene has been up too, as he begs you to pass the anesthetic once more so they can feast on the young.
Gris-Gris takes the traditional New Orleans voudou sound but adds a much more upbeat feel to it, this has echoes of Cab Calloway or Slim Gaillard, as he dreams of travelling to New Orleans while recording in New Orleans as they sit down in a bar and talk the night away.

The C side opens with Cock 'O The Walk a strutting preening flamboyant slice of spasm swing, make way he's coming through to take your woman, he'll even fight you for her. Make no mistake he always thinks he's right, as he always looks for a fight to prove that, as the washboard player lets rip.

Nuthinduan Waltz is a slow waltz of rejection as it ain't gonna happen for you with this gal/guy, so wipe away a tear, dust yourself down and find someone else to reject you some more.
Some Of These Days is a slow fiddle led evocation of the good old bad old days, as he tells his love he's about to go away, as he tells her she will miss him, but we don't know if that's in a good or bad way.

The album closes with the original hidden track, his version of Chinatown, My Chinatown that has a Chinese opera style intro, before the hot seven style band comes in to blow on through this classic tune, they don't play it totally straight, it works really well as one of those tunes I've been hearing versions of all my life, this is very familiar but with plenty for anyone who already has more than enough versions of the tune.

Find out more at https://orgmusic.com/collections/vinyl-lp/products/thrills https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBirdMusic

  author: simonovitch

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