The Midnight Ramble
Sink The Pieces and
High Time Live
Independent – The Midnight Ramble
I was blown away by The Midnight Ramble when I heard them for the first time at Blues on the Farm 2014 this was a band that for me was the find of the festival so was delighted to have not one but two recordings from the band; A studio offering Sink The Pieces. (2012) and High Time Live (2013); High Time in the studio and Live on The Unity Theatre Stage .
Sink The Pieces is an eight track gem, and yes two do reappear on the next album and from the core of the stage show but they are worth re-hearing in slightly different forms. The opening track Lions greets you with a wall of sound from a carefully crafted mix of Rory Ballantyne on Trumpet, Nick Branton on Saxophone and Drums from James Hackett makes you sit up and want to roar like a lion, then we hear the lion roar in the form of vocalist and front-man Paul Dunbar and then into the mix is some deft licks from lead guitarist Mike Mcleod with a bass line driving and mixing it all together from Chris Pearce. If you have both albums, which are a great addition to a collection, you get a chance to hear a live version on High Time/Live proving that this band is as good outside the studio as it is in it! The album is produced and delivered with an assured confidence of a youthful band in a hurry to go places and stamp their mark in the music scene.
This is an album of eight strong tracks with Black Dirt standing out with a bluesy bass line with a simmering of jazz from Trumpet and Sax and the power of Paul’s presence pulling the song together, it is full of angry energy. The next track is a contrast smoother as Caroline opens with guitar licks that you will be humming along to very soon a quieter moody number that allows the lyrics and Paul’s voice to take the centre stage and he can sing with emotion and feeling. Paul is not only an assured singer of songs but he can write a mean lyric he has the soul of a poet and the heart of a minstrel. The sound is fresh, modern it is like many bands around a fusion of sounds; this is definitely a clever and balanced mixing of genres creating The Midnight Ramble vibe that drives straight home.
High Time/Live is no rambling it is music and vocals that is crisp, sharp and sets out their stall of musical potential of this young band, they want to be noticed and so they should. This album lets you get a glimpse of the stage presence and confidence of the lead vocalist Paul Dunbar combined with the guitar skills of Mike Mcleod as they deliver some tracks both ways and three new tracks. Southpaw Billy is one of these and this strong song we hear twice in studio form and live it has a real fizz of excitement combined with a hint of danger this is a song that goes along at a pace has a free form feel about it but at all times Paul is in control ensuring the shape is retained. The other two new tracks added are Last Thing on My Mind which flows and bends like your thought processes and has some delightful guitar cameos from McCleod to get his teeth into and the interplay between drums and Paul’s vocals again brings in something refreshingly different. Then there is the title track High Time with its mournful opening from Trumpet and Saxophone introducing a wistful vocal that has a breathless yearning in tone and great use of the backing vocals. Now we have been introduced to the new songs we have the delights of seven live tracks now the energy levels really are bouncing off the ceiling, this band may be good in the studio but they belong on stage playing live interacting with audiences.
I know a new album is in the offing and it will be interesting to hear the progress and get to know and explore a new set of numbers created and performed by The Midnight Ramble.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD