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The Pretty Things: Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood

Completed prior to the May 2020 death of lead singer Phil May at age 75 following a cycling accident during the coronavirus lockdown, Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood is the first all-acoustic album from The Pretty Things -- a band that built its reputation on British R&B and psychedelic rock. With material that's not uplifting to begin with -- including haunting verisons of gritty songs written by Sheryl Crow and Gillian Welch, plus covers of the band’s blues ’n’ roots heroes and newer tunes penned by relatively unknown songwriters -- the circumstance surrounding its release give the album an even more somber tone.

As the band’s website notes, “[t]his is work stripped bare and reflects the frailties and insecurities of gathering age, ill health, painful failure and memorable success. … This is the work of two old men, who are acting their age, maybe for the first time ever. If their health and energy is depleted, their skill, insight and experience is not.”

The “two old men” are May and 78-year-old guitarist Dick Taylor, the only remaining original members of The Pretty Things at the time of this recording -- although they made Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood with musical assistance from a handful of other players. The band retired from performing electric shows in 2018, and this album was supposed to be a natural progression, according to the liner notes written by engineer, producer and mixer Mark St. John prior to May’s death. The Pretty Things had incorporated a rootsy, acoustic blues set into their live shows for years, and May’s lived-in, sometimes weary voice suits these songs well. Taylor’s guitars twang and twinkle throughout, while Jon Wigg’s violin adds another layer of drama (and, often, grief) to several tracks.

This record -- dedicated to May and featuring a four-page insert that pays tribute to him -- will be the final musical statement from The Pretty Things. It’s a fitting one; a classy, graceful and transparent albeit unwitting farewell that reflects the desire of May and Taylor to reveal their true selves, comfortable in their age and with their legacy.

Track Listing:
1. Can’t Be Satisfied
2. Come Into My Kitchen
3. Ain’t No Grave
4. Faultline
5. Redemption Day
6. The Devil Had a Hold of Me
7. Bright As Blood
8. Love In Vain
9. Black Girl
10. To Build a Wall
11. Another World
12. I’m Ready

Added: June 10th 2021
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: The Pretty Things Website
Hits: 799
Language: english

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