H.T. ROBERTS "KING OF THE ROOFTOPS"
(Deep Blue Something / distr. Via, DBS3300012)
Songs (click on the -icons
for audio) 1.
Went Down to the Seashore
2. Rose of Sharon
3. Box of Confusion
5. Restless City
6. Steamfoot's Parade
7. King of the Rooftops
10. Closer to Heaven
11. Went Down to the Seashore
- H.T. Roberts : lead vocal, guitar, harmonica, ukulele, omnichord, banjo, tin
- Bruno De Neckere : banjo, guitar, vocal
- Antony Boast : pedal steel, viola bragueza, percussion
- Lia Verrees : harmony vocals
- Niels Delvaux : percussion, drums
- Bart Maris : tuba, flugelhorn
- Nils De Caster : violin, viola bragueza
- Alex Rambaut : accordion
- Myra Quelle : casio
- Dr. Rhythm : low tom
- Koen De Waele : double bass
Recorded live around the kitchen table. Produced & mixed by
H.T.Roberts & Antony Boast at The Long House.
Sleeve : Eva Craenhals
It was released somewhere in March of this year, this fine cd, although that
fact caused about as big a ripple as the dropping of a stone in the North Sea
: the impact was swallowed immediately by the violence of the wave, mangled by
a wave-crusher, stranded on the sand. A well-kept secret in fact, except for those
who were standing closeby.
Still, I want to give my full support for this modest, but very high-quality piece
of art from this sound technician (on the road with people like Perry Rose and
Jan De Wilde) and producer (of artists like Bruno Deneckere, Les Nomades ..) called
The excellence is not in the sound, in fact this was recorded mostly around a
kitchen table, nor in a special musical virtuosity or interesting message. No,
what make this disc grow (if you give it a bit of your time) into a pearl is the
simplicity, directness and poetical drive. This is country music (à la
Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue"), these are waltzes (à la Elliott
Smith), this is acoustic guitar folk (à la Dylan, G.W. McLennan) and here
or there a Celtic reel (à la Perry Rose). These are songs about dreams
(Went down to the seashore), about a dead cat (King of the Rooftops),
about life in a big city (Restless City). There are no new chords invented on
it, but those that existed already are being put in a wonderful order in songs
like "Closer to heaven"
(with Mich van Hautem at the backings), "King of the rooftops",
"Rose of Sharon"
(dedicated to writer John Steinbeck), "Shadowland" or "Steamfoot's
Parade" (with Bart Maris on tuba). Just imagine "Nookie" or other
"Guano Apes", and then the absolute contrary of that, and you'll end
up close. This cd is - for me at least - a resting point, a relief.
Probably this is a project too modest, to shy to entertain a big audience, but
I get the feel that even a small audience is big enough for H.T.Roberts. What
do you think, aren't there already too many deejay's ?
Sent-in opinions :
- Timothy wrote : "Ironic
that the great American Gothic recording of the decade should be written by a
Belgian. A strange but beautiful collecion of stark songwriting, in the tradition
of Townes van Zandt Our Mother the Mountain, Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions,
and Nick Cave's The Boatman's Call."
And your opinion?
Did I get it all wrong, or was I spot-on ? Do you want to share your opinion about
this cd ? Send it in, and I'll put it up here !
This album in the press:
MN in Roots Town Music : "This
is further proof of the fact that there's a whole bunch of songwriters and musicians
in Belgium who aren't the lesser in a comparison with their foreign, in this case
American, colleagues. ... What makes H.T. this grand, is his ability to paint.
He knows how to make a very rich sound, with only a minimum of instruments. There
is a vast array of acoustic instrumentens being used, but always with the motto
"less is more" they are used sparingly. Like a flower that blooms, this
cd reveals it's secrets gently and sweetly".
The lowest price is in yellow, the highest in red. This price comparison doesn't
take things into account like deduction of shipping expenses when ordering more
than 1 cd, bonus points, differences in guarantees ... Shipping prices are those
for customers in Belgium.
Have you seen this record elsewhere on the net, do you own an online-CD-shop
with Belgian products in it, or if there's something wrong with my calculations
: let me know.
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