Keith Beasley – Highways Hobos and Heroes
The 14 songs on this country-blues album have been written, recorded and compiled by Keith Beasley over a period of 15 years (1995 – 2010) and have been chosen by him from an extensive song-book … as the songs that mean the most personally. He admits to being heavily influenced by the nostalgia of a highly stylized American culture. Keith is an accomplished blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll musician. He has played many gigs in and around Staines with his ONE FOR THE ROAD band. This is an eagerly anticipated album of his collected inspirations and influences.
Songs such as ‘Wounded Knee’ have almost Dylanesque chord structures growing within them, and in this tune the chords seem to echo out across the Mesa. The words in the song tumble down gracefully – like the tears on Red Cloud morning . Harmonicas flare occasionally, as those old heart aching embers are rekindled. This gently stirring country song ambles along in the midday sun with a suitable lope and a knowing glint in a saddened eye.
Since this album is a journey through the hobo States, it is no surprise that there are a lot of train references. ‘Mystery Train’ is one such reference- a chugging steamer of a song, pounding its way up the tracks with an agreeable thud.
‘Ghost Train’ is a bit more ashen faced. Lazy-necked and slippery bottled strings are peeled from Keith’s guitar like the skins from a tacked up side-winder. The out-and-out blues rhythms clutter along. A harmonica frolics with whiskey soaked guitars, as manful rhythms stride purposefully down a dusty line.
‘Looking for The Country’ is a traditional rock and blues merrymaking roister-doister of a piece. You’ll need to polish the tips on your bolo-tie and watch your boot-straps don’t snag on her hems – because I guarantee that you’ll not stop dancing to this one!
‘57 Chevrolet’ has a buzzing riff and feels like a real man-sized road-song- it’s chock full of smoke and dust. ‘Heat of The Night’ opens with organ sounds, and it really feels like a night under stars south of the “Big River”. The song retains it’s big hot city swagger, amidst the grime and stench of a dirty Maquiladora. And a burst of juicy sax retells the magnificence that could even be possible here in this squalid heat.
Another train song is ‘The Southbound Train’ a hardy blues outing with those familiar globular, throaty vocals from Keith, powdered with silica-dust rhythms.
The album finishes with ‘The Saddest Song’ a tune that perfectly suits Keith’s guttural, gurgled voice. A lamenting story, decorated by bowls of mournful bass-notes. This is bleak and blameless yet perks up when the whines and cries of swirling guitars rise against the smoky fogs of despair. Things brighten up as the song unfolds into perfect harmony and heaven sent clemency.
This album has already been given the great seal of approval from Radio Kili, (the Lakota Sioux Radio Station in South Dakota, out on the Pine Ridge Reservation.) Keith has received messages of support and “Woplia” (Great Thanks) from Morris Bull Bear who is the living descendant of Chief Bull Bear – killed by Red Cloud in a tribal dispute. Apparently Morris Bull Bear’s family love the ‘Wounded Knee’ song.
© Neil_Mach May 2012
Grab The Album Here on Amazon
See Keith LIVE at:
The Red Lion, 92-94 Linkfield Road, Isleworth, next Saturday – 2nd June