Back in 1994 Vancouver, BC, Canada highly danceable celtic soft rockers The Paperboys released their debut CD _Late as Usual_, co-produced by Colin Nairne (of Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts) and Geoff Kelly (of Spirit of the West).
There are three instrumental medleys and eight original tunes, one Cajun influenced, most celtic tinged, much softer/cleaner sounding than many "celtic rock" attempts --- the celtic instruments are not drowned out by the bass/drums, there is little electric guitar, but lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, bodhran, accordion, piano/keys, percussion, drums, fiddle, bass, banjo, flute, whistles, harp, guest cello, of course not all on the same track. The production is very good but they can be even better live.
They do a funked up medley of Cooley's Reel with a tune called Tyrol Mountain Hop that fiddler Moritz wrote while travelling through Austria, that has some very good whistle and fiddle interaction, it gets the sound of those horses. Another medley has Boys of the Mill followed by a tune called Whiskey in the Tea that whistler/harpist/etc Neil wrote on a ferry. Another medley entitled Indian Summer has two jigs written by Tom to celebrate Vancouver's fall, and an arrangement of Drowsy Maggie (reel).
Of the non-instrumentals, the tunes "Devil Away" and "Forest of Blue" are the most folklike, "She Said" is a danceable pop tune but with some tasteful fiddle/etc, "In Love for Now" is a honey-dripping Gen-X love song, "January", "Rocking Chair" are upbeat soft pop tunes with some celtic tinges. "Nowhere But Up" is a bit mellower, but has a jewel of brightness in the darkness. "Come Tella Me" has some Cajun influences.
From the liner notes, The Paperboys are:
Tom Landa: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, backing vocals, bodhran, accordion, piano, keyboards, percussion, audience agitation Moritz Behm: fiddle, mandolin, percussion, backing vocals Cam Salay: electric bass, 5 string banjo, backing vocals Neil Burnett: flute, penny whistles, celtic harp, accordion, percussion, backing vocals Paul Lawton: drums, percussion, backing vocals
(This was the lineup when the recording was made.)
In Love For Now. At first this grated on me a bit, but after more listens in a different mood, it has grown on me. It is a honey-dripping Generation-X love song, about growing closer by the flickering light of the tube, about "stealing the blankets, drinking the last of the milk, and leaving the toilet seat up (liner notes)". There is a bit of e-guitar on here by guest Colin Nairne, but it is kept unobtrusive except for a solo, not damping the words. It is a soft waltz pop tune, with some celtic touches (mandolin/accordion).
Whiskey in the Tea. This is an instrumental medley of Boys in the Mill (learned from a Matt Molloy record) and Whiskey in the Tea, composed by Neil on the ferry the Queen of Galiano, with tea, Scotch and seagulls. It starts with a-guitar and whistle, and some tasteful bass. On the whistle, Neil gets lots of soaring runs and rolls, then Moritz comes in on the fiddle, but the fiddle doesn't do all the grace notes, just backs up the whistle. The second portion gets the sound of the sea, rolling of waves, more rolling effect of the whiskey, all in one: (hey seagull, come have a drop, stay a little while, feel the boat rock [me]). Towards the end it gets even faster, works into a sweaty dancing tune with drums, more bass, but the whistle still cutting through! Again it ends on a whistle note, not a drum note.
Overall I am very happy with the production, the CD catches much of their live energy, and the rhythm section and guitar does not swamp out the celtic instruments but take them to a new level, likely to appeal to young and old. With people like Ashley MacIsaac already having broken the US market, these guys seem destined for stardom.
Now here are some tour dates and ordering info, typed from their last mailing to the paper mailing list (which I am on):
To order the CD write to Stomp Productions, 158--1896 W. Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V6J 1Y9 with a cheque or money order of $14 Canadian or $12 US per CD, including shipping and handling and tax where applicable (add $1 for a bumper sticker), payable to Tom Landa. Let them know if you want to be on their paper mailing list, which I am typing this info from. Also the CD may be available from A&B Sound [(800) 663 0596] and Black Swan Records [(604) 734 2828].
The CD also says that for Paperboys information and bookings (media, agents, distributors, labels, venues, festivals), contact their manager at Stomp Productions (604) 738-4782.
Other celtic musicians reading should know that Tom runs the Vancouver Celtic Festival, a spring (May?) nightclub festival each year and it would be an idea to send him promo kits as well as to those such as Steve Edge (Rogue Folk Club), the Vancouver Folk Music Festival office, Celtic Connection newspaper and perhaps some clubs, if you are planning a trip to Vancouver.
I think The Paperboys have a web page at The Paperboys. They have also released two more CDs: Molinos and Postcards and both are quite good. I may review them later in separate files.