CDAWN The Dance, All Blues and Alexandria Dance, recorded live in London at the Vortex and The 606. Double CD
Only available on this site and at live performances. To buy now please visit my shop.
Carol Grimes (singer/percussionist), Annie Whitehead (trombone), Dorian Ford (piano) Winston Clifford (drums) Neville Malcolm (double bass).
Ian Shaw on CDAWN
Outside the flabby arena of increasingly disposable pop singing Joni called “junk food for juveniles”, there has always been a welcome, often genre-busting, rich seam of music making. Within this (jazz, folk, blues, soul) seam, the singers can be routed to a certain era of popular song. Pastiche, touristy, sepia, anodyne and familiar.
Not Carol Grimes.
The writer, John Fordham called Carol a “British Jazz Soul legend”. Blimey, she probably winced as she read that. “British”..yep, quirky happenstance has made Grimes a child of the sooty skies, the brown and grey hues, the freezing winters of post-war Britain, where it took a good few rationing years before the wild child, misplaced and misunderstood, heard that ’59 hymn to the all exotic,lushly warm and NON British, Miles’ “All Blues.” No better start to this warts’n all live CD, taken from gigs where, shepherded and buffeted by the warmest mob of brilliant players, “CDAWN”(Carol, Dorian, Annie, Winston, Neville) our wild girl unfolds, through song, her story.
That voice. I first heard it on the crackle and velvet of vinyl. I was a Welsh teen oddity, shaken up by Aretha, Otis, Ella, Frank (she’ll tell you about him here)..but I wanted to see if there was any of this closer to hand. Dad brought “Warm Blood” by Carol Grimes back from Penny Lane Records in Chester. I still thought this girl was a mate of Bonnie Raitt, an ex of Tom Petty, a Laurel Canyon untouchable. Nope. I met Carol in London, just after I graduated. I wanted to sing like her. And..she showed me, and others, that we could.
It’s all here. From the superb, slouchy “Mood Indigo” through the ultimate “outsider” late night laments, Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” and the seminal Sinatra last-chance-saloon, “One For My Baby” (pianist and arranger, Dorian Ford is beautifully minimal, leaving Grimes room to ache and sway) to two of her best co-writes, with Maciek Hrybowicz “The Circus” and a re-worked “Alexandria Dance” (bassist, Neville Malcolm locking tender horns with the UK’s finest drummer, Winston Clifford) Mitchell’s naive but vital “Big Yellow Taxi” is also here, showing Carol’s conviction and crystal clear high pipes and Nick Caves. “Into My Arms” is gospelly.
Old mates are vital to Carol. The superb Annie Whitehead plays on these live takes, punctuating the waltzy “The Dance” Grimes and Ford, like it’s a warm exchange of news. Oscar Brown Jnr.s “A Tree And Me” is delivered with heartbreaking simplicity, contrasted with the almost Etta James-like “Roll Me A Cigarette.” Shaw, Ford, Grimes.
“Jazz Soul Legend??” (I’m gonna get lamped when she reads this) “Jazz” is the sound of surprise, it’s playful and swings. Tick.
“Soul??” Oh please. My friend Andrew had to excuse himself at the launch of “Mother”, her acclaimed last studio session. ( Produced by myself!)
He couldn’t stop crying, such was the depth of her opening song, the Cave song. He later said..” Where does all that come from?? And why am I so upset!?” TICK.
“Legend??” Well, she’s certainly been around a while.
She’s quite short. She’s a great mum, tells the best stories, does great things with vegetables, introduced me to Brinjal Pickle with cheese, has the best eye for interior design…..Oh, and there’s the book soon.
And Fuck Me, she’s singing better than ever.
Ian Shaw. London 2013.