Unmissable missives from British blues veteran who winds his springs tight enough to make his strings resonate for a long time.
Some septuagenarians prefer to plainly settle down for their sunset years, other people defiantly refuse to do so. Mick Clarke is of the latter sort of folks, his incessant run of records getting hotter and hotter, and this one might be the most incendiary offering of all. Raw as befits a platter by a person suffering from a bluesy wound in their heart, the dozen cuts of “Telegram” present a typical amalgam of originals and covers which should keep Clarke’s followers focused on every detail of Mick’s delivery for losing an iota of his flurries of notes may amount to a criminal act. It doesn’t matter that the transparent “Corrine, Corrina” or the ivories-encrusted “I Ain’t Got You” are a familiar fare, because the artist’s licks and roar refresh old templates with a lot of gusto, especially when there’s a sharp riff on offer.
This is what makes his self-penned pieces – such as the album’s swamp-scented title track that’s spiced up with frenetic percussion relentlessly propelling Clarke’s first-ever guitar, the instrument he purchased in 1963, towards a chiming solo, the acoustically spiked ballad “House Of Cards” or the seriously heavy “Night School” – basically irresistible in their six-string tangle. However, there’s much more tangible feeling of fun being had in the slider-oiled covers of “World In A Jug” where Mick’s vocals enhance the boogie roll and “The Love Me Or Die” with its Latino shuffle and juicy guitar tone, while “No Fool Baby” has a rave-inducing, insistent groove attached to its tense arrangement, and the veteran’s take on “Can’t Stop Lovin'” struts its stuff with a brick-ton of swagger. And if the countrified elegance behind “Barbecue Bob” will warrant a smile on the listener’s lips, the piano-driven stomp of “Tin Box” may make everybody to grow their face long, and when “Blues Start Walkin'” gets unleashed, a possible point of no return is replaced by the wish of going back to the album’s beginning and prepare for a new spin.
You see, here’s “Telegram” you can’t refuse.