The Goat Roper Rodeo Band : Cosmic Country Blue07.10.2016 : Aveline Records
Rhuddlan's The Goat Roper Rodeo Band are two brothers, Tom & Jim Davies, on double bass, lead guitar and vocals, and childhood friend Sam Roberts, who plays rhythm guitar, and whose singing voice is mostly reserved for harmonies and lead on the more soulful tracks.
We have already charted their unlikely musical journey.
Forged from the band's love of country, blues and soul, and galvanised by their innate musical vitality, Cosmic Country Blue is their second album. Produced by Romeo Stodart (The Magic Numbers), it's a fizzing, alive collection of songs - with an acoustic sound exactly half-way between the run away joie de vivre of a jug band, and the open hearted resonance of early Crosby, Stills & Nash.
If there are any doubts that this is a potent brew, they should be dispelled by precisely nineteen seconds into the first song, I Got Room, which has both energy and a sense of irrepressible good humour. Mean Man keeps up the pace, with a skip and an infectious skiffling beat - by this point you will have stopped whatever you are doing and be wondering, wherever you are and whoever you are with, how it will go down when you just stand up and dance along.
The start of Blossom Blues offers a moment of quiet, but only a moment before the rhythm guitar gets to your feet. Old Heart Ache is softer, with a pedal steel guitar in the mix, but the musical dynamics are still compelling.
You have to wait until Old Joanna for the first true breather; it's a lamenting oldtime country song, downbeat and downhearted, but Stick It On Red then immediately reboots the party. This brings us to one of the two standouts, Rhythm Of Love; sung by Sam Roberts, it is a song with a stitch more southern soul in its upholstery than what has gone before - it builds up as it goes, with harmonies pushing it to become celebratory. It's followed by Catch Me If You Can, which has the feel of an ebullient, speeding Everly Brothers' song.
Next in line My Sweet Woman is a gentle ballad, with a whispering guitar under the vocals, and sets the scene for the showstopper: Don't Believe In You is an elegiac and powerful song, captured here as well as it is played live. In truth it's a hard peak to follow but Tomb Stone briefly revives the animal spirits before Hey Chuck, with piano and pedal steel, imagined in a whisky soaked, end-of-the-night and last-in-the-bar setting, has Tom Davies mournfully pleading for one last song.
Cosmic Country Blue is very difficult to resist, whatever your preconceptions; an album and band too full of spirit and exuberance to ignore, and a live act it would be a mistake not to see.
THE GOAT ROPER RODEO BAND I The Rhythm Of Love