Hamell On Trial
Tough Love

(Righteous Babe)

It was quite strange, a few months ago, watching The Soul Of A Man, the movie that director Wim Wenders has dedicated to the blues. It was a strange experience, since Wenders, whose intention had obviously been to celebrate the spirit of the blues, went within inches of burying it forever, so big being the distance between The Founding Fathers and Those Who Were Worth Something, and the bunch of clowns, assorted buffoons and poseurs that he assembled in order to prove the blues was at least alive, if not well.

Sitting in the middle: Lou Reed. In its own terms, an innovator. Maybe a poseur, sometimes a clown. Not really a good example for those who have become firmly convinced that three chords three, elementary melodies and a voice monotonous beyond boredom will grant them a sure recipe that'll last forever.

Enter Ed Hamell, guitarist and singer whose discography is already a long one, but who doesn't seem to be interested in the least in expanding his expressive palette. Everything on this album brought me back to (a slightly updated) Coney Island Baby - which I think it's still available on a budget line. Here we get the three chords of Louie Louie - check Don't Kill, Halfway, When Destiny Calls. There's also Lou in his more petulant vocal mode - see Dear Pete. There's obviously the "sensitive ballad": Hail. It's obviously apparent that different vocal means and a better sense of phrasing - check All That Was Said, where Ani DiFranco, also the owner of the record company, sings - can make a difference. But: how many times? And: for how long?

Beppe Colli

© Beppe Colli 2003

CloudsandClocks.net | Sept. 7, 2003