As infectious as these songs are (and a good indication of how superb
the band are live) The Mules have other strings to their bow. As
evidenced on his last album Meade can turn his hand to old time country
songs and waltzes (as on his duet with Diana Jones on Help Me Tonight)
and there’s a brace of these sadder tear stained moments on the album.
Meade has an acute grasp on the topics that engaged George Jones and
Hank Williams (heartbreak mostly), while his voice can convey the hurt
just as well as the good times. He Should Have Been Mine laments with a fine plaintive piano and Poison Dart lopes along with some sweet guitar curls and a lonesome prairie feel. Best of all is the powerful confessional of Leave Me To Bleed,
Meade, superbly accompanied by Siobhan Wilson on harmonies, reaching
into the darker recesses of country music, his bride dead before the
wedding, guilt and faith confused, the music a back porch funereal.
Midway twixt the light and dark there’s an excellent country ramble on Count The Roses
which delves into George Jones territory with some style while the
title song recalls the Everly Brothers with its harmonies. Like Pokey
Lafarge, Meade has the ability to write songs that seem to have been
around forever and here he’s forged a set of songs that cover a panoply
of half a century of rockabilly and country music. The album’s a
whirligig of rabble rousing honky tonk and forlorn laments all delivered
with some panache.
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