Recorded before audience at The Cube, Malvern 10th May 2015
Release Date 10th October 2015
Babajack incorporates elements of music gathered in from Africa, Blues, Folk, Rock and beyond and then blends and distills with artful precision to create a unique sound that excites the audience as they are swept up into the whirlwind of emotions unfolding through the words and music. This is the album that capturing the very essence of the band, Babajack Live the full band plus the atmospheric cello courtesy of Julia Palmer-Price and the skillful live recording and production from Paul Long you have a live sound captured forever.
The track list is a mix of songs from previous albums, the must have tracks in a Babajack set and some glimpses of future work and the promise of another studio album. Opening with Money’s All Gone, the first sound is Trevor Steger’s harp playing so distinctive and the scene set as the guitar picks up, Becky’s percussion and the audience applaud this definitely a fun ride, this is a song that has a driving rhythm and tells a tale that is essential for this acoustic sound full with its electric force field of energy’ the extended live version gives the band time to explore and develop the melodies and Becky’s vocals ensure that we understand the money is gone!
We hear the intro’s from Becky and now with the djembe beat we have a love song she wrote Falling Hard with the harp once again painting a picture of hope and despair in the pure simplicity of the opening is what makes Babajack special. This is no heart and flowers love song it is about falling hard and the beat of the drums by Tosh Murase underline the drama of the whole track. Sunday Afternoon was perfect for this recording on a late Sunday afternoon and the intro was spellbinding combined with the anticipation of Becky’s vocals were reward as she joined in with the band harmonizing behind her and Trevor’s distorted backing vocals’ the moment captured. Then a new number Back Door, that has an acoustic simplicity and that driving Babajack bluesy folk riff recognisable as one of their songs so much more than sitting at a back door. With Breathe, one of the shorter tracks, the cello makes the music almost stand still its simple beauty the silence was deep it was as if the audience were collectively holding their breath so as not to interfere with the waves the music was weaving. A gentle track where vocal and cello merges and sends a shiver down the spine. Phew! We can breathe again; and the tempo changes with the title track from their last studio album <strongRunning Man full of storytelling tradition through song is unveiled, the listening picks up the fear of the unknown, running but cannot escape; the applause was huge no wonder what a rendition. This is followed by a mainstay of their set list Gallows Pole, from English Folk, over to the USA and Leadbelly then back as a rock anthem and now this, what is becoming an iconic version. The whole band had fun playing this Adam Bertenshaw as on all the tracks provides a bass line that allows the music to develop from and have a safe haven to return to so whatever path they choose the shape and form stays. Finishing the album with Skin & Bone the audience joined in with percussive clapping and Tosh’s drumming is immense, cello full of groaning emotion and then Becky and Trevor the heartstone of the band creating a song that lingers long after the last note dies away and the applause stops.
Babajack LIVE, works superbly as an album there is the tension and even hints of vulnerability of exposing a live performance to the recording process; the result is an emotionally drenched performance of the eleven tracks. The album could be reviewed in a sentence – Babajack LIVE has frozen the essence of Babajack, the energy and tension of a live performance frozen in time we can all enjoy this golden album again and again and get as much pleasure as the audience did.