Thursday, 14 February 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Daniel Meade and the Flying Mules - Live Mules : Self-released (Out on March 1st)

Keeping up with Daniel Meade’s itchy feet can be an ordeal, although not a bad one to endure. It looks as if 2019 is going to be another busy one on the release front as this energetic Scot has three releases in the pipeline. Maybe he did not want to be out done by Ryan Adams (unfortunate comparison maybe since first drafted!) or perhaps it is just time to send a timely reminder to folks out there what a versatile performer he is.

The first of these takes a step back in time, both literally and metaphorically. LIVE MULES is released under the moniker of Daniel Meade and the Flying Mules, with intent to capture some of the magical moments that conspired when the combo was in prime form. Therefore, this album sets to pinpoint a period where Daniel cracked the honky code and dipped deep into his inner Hank, and a few other boogie pioneers from the halcyon days of raw rock ‘n’ roll in its unabated infancy.

Since this period where Daniel rubbed shoulders with the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show and Sturgill Simpson , deviations have led things into the realm of stripped back singer-songwriter, more polished contemporary rock stuff and a high profile role as keyboard player in Ocean Colour Scene’s touring band. Therefore, LIVE MULES acts as a little gift to those hooking up with the original Daniel Meade.

Apart from indulging Daniel Meade converts, the potential to recruit newbies is another trait attached to LIVE MULES, and one that could be the more serious outcome, rather than partaking in a little fun.

The ten songs adorning the album are familiar to existing fans as they largely appeared on earlier releases in a form that is not too far adrift to what you will hear on the record. Daniel Meade adopted a light production touch when initially recording these songs in the studio so the transition to the stage is not a great distance travelled. The aim of the live recording, which was initially made at a gig in Shetland in 2016, is to capture the magic of an impulsive audience fuelled environment. This is secured within the relative brevity of a thirty-three minute playing time to appease those of us not too enamoured with transferring what happens on stage to record.

Despite reservations of this format (experiencing it in person will always prevail in my book), spinning LIVE MULES repeatedly fired a feel good phase to what an effective operator Daniel Meade is when delving into a little retro revival. The press release stated that guitarist Lloyd Reid was on fire, but words describing this were surplus to requirement following first listen.

Solo work and a duo album with Lloyd are the planned 2019 follow up to LIVE MULES meaning anybody interested in the work of Daniel Meade is going to need to clear a little space in the coming months. Of course, this is no chore and we await the next move.