Boz Boorer: Some of the Parts (Fabrique Records)
Boz Boorer’s not only been Morrissey’s right hand man for the last 20 years or so but he’s also been honing his own skills as a really rather good rock n rolling rockabillyer. Adrian Bloxham’s been listening to his latest album for us & has been, to say the least, suitably impressed.
Boz Boorer has a rockabilly heart beating inside his chest. He came to fame in the Polecats, rock’n’rollin’ across the country. He was recruited by King Mozz and continues to be Mr Morrissey’s musical director, spinning his magic across the sounds made by Manchester’s most likely to succeed. He has produced albums, he has worked with Adam Ant and Kirsty McColl to name but two. His last album ”ËMiss Pearl’ was rock’n’roll right the way to the bone. On this album Boz stretches out his arms and embraces the fifties, sixties and way beyond.
The first track ”ËTurned to Stone’ has a big sixties style sound. The guitar has crashing chords that echo the lyrics about a love that has gone and everything has stopped. ”ËI’m alone while you turn to stone’. The drums give a bombastic feel to the music as the guitar fuzzes briefly over the top. ”ËSaunders Ferry Lane’ has sweeping strings and a bassy croon from James Maker, who adds an extra dimension of sadness and regret to the song. It’s a more understated sound but no less epic and grand. The music and feel of ”ËSlippery Forces’ is right bang up to date, it’s a step on from the cheeky pop touted by the Arctic Monkeys and their ilk. Its razor sharp sound and lyrics surround a hard precise singing style. ”ËI’m nervous and my voice begins to crack’.
”ËBozanova Brown’ has the best title on the album. It has a smooth Latin American groove with muted brass and cascading strings. Lorna Blackwood gently sings the melody hidden in the music. After the Japanese Tsunami Boz was asked to contribute to a charity album, he said he wrote this driving to the studio but didn’t write it down so when he woke up in the middle of that night he scribbled it down there and then so he didn’t forget it. It’s a slap bass proper rock’n’roll belter with raw vocals and a proper fifties guitar sound.”ËJackie Brown’ is strum led croon, sung by Graeme Hughes, it’s slow and sunny music, laid back and relaxed.
”ËJazz Interlude’ is sleazy film soundtrack music, a lounge band sitting at the back of a disreputable bar as cigarette smoke curls around them, a clarinet rasping over the shady deals and bad whiskey.”ËCast Iron Arm’ takes me back to the John Barry Rock’n’Roll sound, to the Beat Girl soundtrack and Adam Faith, the feel is sharp and edging towards violence. ”ËDon’t mess with me ”Ëcos I’ve got a cast iron arm.’ Fantastic sound added to by the sax. ”ËSunday Morning Coming Down’ the story of a hangover by Johnny Cash made into the sound of unsteadiness and nausea by Boz and John Moore. He sounds like he’s about to throw up and the music is rough and unfinished. The guitar buzzing and the shuffling drums relentless.His voice is as dry and rough as the overflowing ashtray on the side of the bar in between the shot glasses. A hangover brought to vivid life in your head. Distorted and lost.
”ËDoctor Jazz’ was co-written with the wonderful Kirsty MacColl, it’s a swing sensation, with bass moving up and down, brass and a quick drumbeat it’s a song you might jitterbug to in a ballroom, Boz and his band leaping around on stage as the rock rolls. ”ËOf Hooves’ is a dark soft psychedelic brooder, unsettling because the lyrics are spoken with an echo, it makes it into something unworldly. Like a horror film’s narration it creeps around like a spider across a blackboard.”ËI’m Gonna Make Your Mind’ was originally credited to Cloptrain Bozheart, on account of a moonshine addled Boz not remembering singing it. This is the track the Cramps never made, a pschobilly, rockabilly nightmare, understated with a lunatic werewolf vocal, excellent.
Rock’n’Roll has come a long way since the fifties, it’s had many different faces and styles. Boz Boorer has captured this with ”ËSome of the Parts’. He still has a rockabilly heart beating keeping time with whatever song he is playing on or singing. This album is a must, one of my favourites of the year so far.
All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on LTW here.