Songs from the Ragged Backside of the American Dream ARR REDR 1005SB
Released in 2002, Dai’s first album has received critical acclaim (well no bad revues anyway) and the ultimate accolade of being sampled and also used as a soundtrack for an abstract video. Copies have winged their way across the globe to Hong Kong, Australia, the USA, Ireland (both ends), Canada, Scandinavia and several bits of Europe, and airplay has occasionally occurred in some of these places. So it’s been popular and is still selling, although Dai thinks it’s a bit long in the tooth now. The problem is that, despite constant chivvying, he hasn’t really made much progress towards a second CD beyond a growing stack of nearly-finished tracks; he claims he spends all his time on other peoples records and mutters something about “cobbler’s children lacking shoes”. Anyway the CD has a glossy 8 page full-colour booklet with sleeve-notes by Blues guru Max Haymes and lots of lovely pictures, stuff about instruments used and background to the songs. The songs themselves are all Country Blues (and Gospel) and Old Timey from the acoustic era between the World Wars, featuring offerings originally recorded by Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Papa Charlie Jackson, Charlie Poole, Clarence Ashley, Henry Thomas and more. Examples are “Airy Man Blues” (as far as I know, the only attempt on record – apart from Papa Charlie’s – and even though Dai’s words are total tosh, it is played on a 6-string banjo), “Mamma T’ain’t Long Fo’ Day”, “Handsome Molly” and a jug band version of “Fishing Blues” that people really seem to like. All sorts of instruments are used and abused – Martins, Nationals, Guilds, 3 different flavours of banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, washboard, right the way down to a Triang Cymbal and a cardboard box. Yes it’s all Fun – at least it’s meant to be!
Here’s Dai playing Bukka White’s “Fixin’ To Die” on YouTube.