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Crate Digging: Paul Brown, Mr Pape


The twenty-third episode in the music discovery and discussion series from Concord Label Group

Crate Digging: Paul Brown, Mr Pape

Crate Digging is a music discovery platform where contributors take home and discuss two records from across Concord Label Group’s active and historical labels.

Paul Brown, senior music supervisor at Mr Pape, discusses his top two finds.

My frontline choice is Andrew Bird's Inside Problems, an album which has been on repeat in our office for the past six months. There is a sense of nostalgic calm evoked from his song writing (spearheaded by the playful melodic dance of Birds vocal and violin performance) that makes for great music anytime of the day.

At first you could pigeon hole the album as being a typical indie folk record, but it delivers so much more than that. There’s tender moments reminiscent of Jeff Buckley in ‘Underlands’, gritty drawls of Lou Reed on ‘The Night Before Your Birthday Party’ and some classic song writing with echoes of Townes Van Zant throughout. Traditional structures are given way to more improvisational and expressive blocks, with Bird taking the opportunity to showcase his virtuoso violin abilities, something which shines on his solo in ‘Eight’.

The track that grabs me most is the album opener ‘Underlands’, I love the mix of the drums and the tenderness of the guitar playing. The track has such as sense of melancholy but for me never feels sad.

Even with such a small ensemble, Bird manages to put together such a cinematic album with varying moods and textures, there’s a hopefulness to life and love on the title track ‘Inside Problems’ that feels made for a coming age story. The album is also peppered with catchy hooks delivered with a whistle or a hum, and who doesn’t love a whistle or a hum.  

My Catalogue pick is Albert King’s ‘I’ll Play The Blues For You’ on Craft Recordings

From the catalogue I’ve gone for Albert King ‘I’ll Play The Blues For You’, I used to live with a blues guitarist years ago who worshiped the ‘Kings Of Blues’ (BB King, Freddie King and Albert King) and I was drawn in by the album cover.

No one is having as much fun as Albert King on this record, the whole thing plays out like a live performance, with a backing band of Stax regulars: the Bar-Keys and the Memphis Horns who impeccably provide a bed for King’s guitar to sit firmly front and centre. As for King himself, his interaction and energy with the listener/crowd is infectious and full of humour - there’s a great nod to James Brown in ‘I’ll Be Doggone’ as he says “I wanna know what it feels like to take it to the bridge”.  And every guitar solo is accompanied by his energetic ad libs and signature ‘woooo’ (something which I feel influenced the trademark of Ric Flair), it’s some of the purest form of expression I’ve heard on a record.

‘Angel of Mercy’ showcases the raw performance of King, his guitar tone sounds like he’s really digging in and pouring everything he has into the strings. I’d also recommend listening to ‘Answer To The Laundromat Blues’, it’s the only original King song on the record and it’s got all his charisma and performance that make him great.  

From a sync perspective, ‘I’ll Sing The Blues For You’ oozes cool in every nook and cranny and stinks of whiskey.

If you’d like to know more, or you’re keen to discover more of our repertoire, please contact:

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Concord Label Group, Thu, 02 Feb 2023 09:21:26 GMT