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OOTB 304 – 5 June 2008

You lucky, lucky people. Not only do you get the pleasure of two quality
reviews in one day, but the splendiferous Thorn’s Musical Journey will be
Featured tomorrow night. An angelic voice wrapped in a bearded package,
tied with a bow, YOU MUST see Thorn before he disappears back Stateside to
do awesome battle with the men in black.

Be there.

In the mean time, enjoy this offering by the man himself.

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OOTB 304 Review 5 June 2008
By Darren Thornberry

Dr. Ben Young
“Battle of the Bands” – I love this classic indictment of those
regurgitating rock n rollers. When Ben sings, “There are so many like you,
singing with nothing to say,” a dozen people come to mind (no oot-bites,
of course). Ben’s next tune is a peek into the stark, stubborn loneliness
of a relationship on the rocks that lacks an obvious exit strategy.
Completing the trio, “In the Garden” is Ben’s mother’s take on a Rumi poem
that leaves this writer wanting more. Nature metaphors are abundant.

Calum Carlyle August 2008

Calum Carlyle August 2008

Calum Carlyle lets his blues guns rip with a superb harmonica-soaked
outing. John Lee Hooker and now Bo Diddley turned in their graves while he
groaned, “I don’t need your body; I just need your soul!!!” Next is an
early autumn love-type song that turns doo-bee-doo free jam. He’s clearly
on a roll and thus ends with an interpretation of the Israelites’ song of
deliverance as read in Exodus. He sings it … in Hebrew. As you do.

I daresay tonight’s only keyboardist and old friend of OOTB, Roddy
Renfrew, steals the show before it’s really begun. His first song is about
missing the signs of a relationship in trouble. The chords recall “Mack
the Knife.” With the sentimental stuff out of the way, Roddy cracks the
house up with his ode to singer-songwriters, who write songs of blame
after break-ups. “There Must Be Something Wrong With My Baby (Or Something
Must be Wrong With Me)” is hilarious, really. Musical farting and the
sexual prowess of pandas are all fair game. “I Don’t Want To Be Blue
Again” is a rhyme-laden ditty about the horrors of Tory leadership.
Sample: “I believe in a place called Balamory, but I just can’t believe
there is a place for the Tories.” Funny stuff met with loud applause.

Colin Milne always has interesting lyrics. Tonight he sings of Julie, the
girl behind the bar in Haddington, where the folk group meets on
Wednesdays. Unfortunately, I’m not hearing his vocals very well, but I
know his next tune is about the garden and the things you will find there
… blackbirds, gooseberries, heather … Colin winds up his nylon-stringed
set with one he penned in 1982, a happy moment when summer wildflowers
were in bloom and no shadow was cast on love’s pleasure.

SQUASHEE and OOTB neophyte James Ellis (do I detect an Aussie accent?)
strums a song about breaking the wings of a stone. Jesus and his bride
also get a mention, and I am wishing I could read between the lines of
this lovely song. Hope to hear you again soon, sir.

MAIN ACT LORRAINE McCAULEY
“Daydreaming” makes me want to lie down in a canoe, sun on my face, and
float downstream. This quiet tune gets in ya. “I’m Yours” describes the
pain of loving the one who hurts you while needing time and space to heal.
Over a simple, effective strum pattern, Lorraine’s “dreams are in tatters
on the floor.” She’s trying to finish a pint of Guinness between songs and
next up is the first one she wrote in the Burgh. It contains the standout
line of the evening: “the clouds overdosed in moisture and I overdosed on
you.” A new song, “Light in the Darkest Corners,” follows. Anyone who’s
ever heard a voice instructing not to get their hopes up will identify
with it immediately. Lorraine has a presence not unlike Dolores O’Riordan
circa 1991, her voice dripping tenderness. Now she brings along Eddie
Robinson and Chris Purcell of Broken Lights to share in the moment. The
trio perform Eddie’s “Outskirts,” which people love, but I am wondering if
our main act might have been slightly lost while finding that harmony.
Either that or I just couldn’t hear her vocal. Next is a cool song (The
Right Time?) by Chris that draws on some CSN harmonies. Lorraine gets back
in the song writing saddle for the finale. “What If” sees Chris and Eddie
accompanying on harmonica and guitar, respectively. It’s a quality set and
to be fair I would like to have heard more of her original tunes because
Broken Lights are a tour de force in their own right. But it was a
generous move on her part anyway. www.myspace.com/lorrainemccauley

Ross Neilson, the zen schoolteacher, blasts into his set with an up tempo
flamethrower of a song in which someone’s bad hair is called into
question. It’s a good night for Ross. He turns a couple of really nice
phrases. Song 2 sample: “burdened in my mind like a plane flies through
dark skies.” Song 3 sample: “Like a subscription she’s been cancelled.”
His set has a brooding edge to it tonight, and I would hate to be the
jilted lover at the wrong end of his pen.

SQUASHEE: Ray Kenny performs a sincere song regarding his father’s bout
with Parkinson’s. Slipping away is the theme. I can’t help but try to
juxtapose this with the message on his T-shirt, “too busy to fcuk” and I
come up short.

You know that girl on the train you talk to and then never see again? Tom
Bunn has written a song about her! “Girl on the Train” is a nice starter
from this uni student who has wisely branched out into Edinburgh’s greater
open mic scene. In “Come Back,” autumn leaves are liberated from their
trees. This song has a traditional folk sound and would definitely fly at
the Royal Oak, too. Tom has a nice finish, remembering cold winter
mornings and walking home on rainy days. He’s a capable guitarist and a
good singer, too. See you again, Tom.

Hughes and McQuade – a likeable duo with quality songs! “Na Na Na” is a
cool sing-along blighted by our sound problems (sorry guys). “Come On
Home” shows off a tasty lead lick. “Keep Going” recalls the singer’s
boyhood dream in which he clearly refused to quit! I don’t yet know which
one is Hughes or McQuade, but they possess a great combination of a strong
vocalist and tight guitar interplay.

Eddie and Ivor
Eddie Robinson has probably had enough smoke blown up his arse lately in
the open mic scene, but I have to say it’s well deserved. He has some
songs. Go check out Machar Granite on myspace to hear his solo stuff. For
his last song, Eddie brings along Ivor, who is tattooed and buff,
something like a sailor on steroids, but shit the guy plays beautiful
harmonic notes to offset Ed’s strumming on “Lie of the Land.” I take this
as a song of lament. That is to say I’m tearing up when I hear “If you had
any idea about the lie of the land upon the soil, you would not place such
great demand.” Class song.

Squashee Kevin O’Rourke comes around every now and then to show off his
song writing chops and play guitar. His usual gig as keyboardist for
Smoked Glass can’t contain this guy. “It’s time to face the music that
we’ll never dance again” … ah, a waltzy number, a veritable feast of achy
minors, that causes any warm-blooded lover to bob their head mournfully.
Not me, though. Ahem.

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