Binker Golding – Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy
(Gearbox Records. Album Review by Adam Sieff)
Ever since Binker Golding first performed the music on this album at Ronnie Scott’s a year ago I’ve been waiting for its release with great anticipation. It’s been a long three years since his excellent and hugely enjoyable Abstractions Of Reality Past And Incredible Feathers, although during this time Golding has continued to blaze new trails with Moses Boyd and Max Luthert (Feeding The Machine), Elliott Galvin (Ex Nihilo) and John Edwards and Steve Noble (Moon Day).
Finally, Dream Like A Dogwood Boy has arrived and it has been worth the wait. The line up differs in two ways from last time, with Golding’s regular live pianist Sarah Tandy (taking over from Joe Armon-Jones), and also the addition of guitarist Billy Adamson, while the rhythm section thankfully remains double bassist Daniel Casimir and drummer Sam Jones.
The sound is epic, recorded by Matt Mysko at Metropolis with a high and wide mixdown by Hugh Padgham at Platoon. This big landscape audio setting is important, as it perfectly captures the all the elements of traditional and contemporary American music that make this jazz album so appealing, from country, the blues and bluegrass right through to heartland rock.
Golding’s knack for writing memorable tunes is as strong as it was on Abstractions, which dealt with his experiences during his teenage years and twenties. This time he’s considering where he currently stands, reflecting on loss and as he says, ‘this is ultimately about growing up, finding strength and doing things better. It’s hard to articulate these points with instrumental music, but they’re in there.’ ‘He continues, ’I’d like to think this music is for anyone that at some time has needed to be reminded of what it means to be human. The ideas behind the songs cover positive & negative relationships I’ve had to both people and things, including family members, partners, and friends.’
The core musicians know each others’ playing inside out with Adamson fitting in perfectly. Golding is on fire, I’ve never heard him play better than he does here and there seems to be a new level of maturity to add to his power, passion and musicality. The strong melody and catchy singalong chorus of the opening track Take Me To The Wide Open Lows should be blasting from a cassette deck in a pickup truck on a two lane blacktop and the hoedown that ends My Two Dads is truly joyous.
Casimir and Jones are as tight and supportive as ever and really drive these strong tunes and Tandy is flying on her solos, especially on the memorable (and not just for the title) Howling And Drinking In God’s Own Country. As usual, her comping is as excellent as ever. Adamson’s guitar is a key ingredient in the new direction, his tone, touch and groove on electric and acoustic is just right and he stands out on Love Me Like A Woman with reverb drenched vibrato tones and a searing solo.
As he has always done, Binker Golding marches to the beat of his own drum, a couple of giant steps ahead of everyone else. This hugely enjoyable and moving album deserves to be the soundtrack of this Summer and far beyond. Time to hit the Dogwood trail!
Available in UK and Japanese vinyl editions, CD and digital. Release date 17 June
Categories: Album review