My Darling Clementine: How Do You Plead?

Written by September 5th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

My Darling Clementine
How Do You Plead?
(Five Head Entertainment)
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Brits have a history of taking American music and selling it back to the US, which they did particularly well with blues and soul in the sixties. They have been less successful with country– that remains a stateside staple– but not if My Darling Clementine has any say in it. Married couple Michael Weston King and wife Lou Dalgleish take the well-worn C&W male/female duet cliché and write a baker’s dozen of originals that sound like they came straight out of the June/Johnny-Emmylou/Gram-Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood catalogs. This is as authentic as anything out of Nashville or Texas, elevated with terrific backing musicians who have supported such US loving Brits as Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. They also play some vintage instruments as noted in the credits.Co-produced by King who keeps the sound stripped down, this is a vocal showcase for its two singers, both of whom had successful solo careers overseas.The tunes tend towards broken or breaking relationship ballads, but are tempered with more upbeat themes like the soon to be reunited lovers in “Going Back to Memphis.” Dalgleish has a stunning voice somewhere between Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt and even if King isn’t going to give George Jones any competition, he more that holds his own on a batch of superb C&W corkers that will fool even the most diehard country music fan into thinking that this couple was American born and bred.

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