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CHARLIE PARR – Roustabout (CD/LP, Misplaced Music)

Posted: February 14th, 2009, by Dave Stockwell

It’s been almost four years since bluegrass boy Charlie Parr hit paydirt and considerable acclaim with his fourth album “Rooster”, but it’s not like he’s been sitting on his hands ever since; “Roustabout” is his seventh full-length release, and the first to be released by Bristol-based label, the highly excellent Misplaced Music. Misplaced are celebrating this by making it  first ever long playing record they’ve ever released – vinyl limited to 500 copies, though you can get it on plain ol’ CD too if needs be.

Charlie’s sound, rooted in the crackling ’20s and a’30s recordings of Smithsonian Folkways and discoveries by Harry Smith, can hardly be charged to have ‘progressed’ since his first album 8 years ago, but then that would be beside the point. Fingerpicked resonator, 12-string guitar and banjo accompany his unique gravelly voice as he works his way through twelve songs, three of which are covers – not that you’d know it, to his eternal credit.

“Authenticity” is a word that has been misused for so long that it seems an awful tar to brush someone with, but by God Charlie deserves to reclaim it for the realms of respectability. He’s not some godawful “roots” act wishing that it’s still the (original) Great Depression and we all live in mud huts in Virginia – Charlie sings about the world around him without pretense or irony. There’s no hint of cynicism about him. To that I can say only one word: HURRAH!

Speaking plainly, if you heard and liked “Rooster”, you should get this. If you haven’t heard Charlie Parr before, you should go to his myspace page, listen to him, and buy this. Alright?

“Roustabout” is available from all good shops from Monday 17th February. Charlie’s currently in tour in Ireland andthe UK until the end of the month. Go check him out.



Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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