# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sally Ironmonger - The Company I Keep

  by Owen Peters

published: 18 / 1 / 2015

Sally Ironmonger - The Company I Keep
Label: Sally Ironmonger
Format: CD


Heartfelt and thought-provoking but often comical third album from earthy Medway-based folk artist and singer-songwriter, Sally Ironmonger

Anything which comes in for review and has a lyric sheet which can be read clearly is off to a good start. Oh Sally, oh Sally, you little, teasing, thought-provoking, foot-tapping, belly-laughing, ale swigging, murdering, schizophrenic, tear-inducing wordsmith. If you can relate to the playful words of Jake Thackray, working class roots of Billy Bragg and rangey vocal of Kirsty McColl, you're going to adore 'The Company I Keep' by Sally Ironmonger. Here’s my suggestion. Switch off the TV, plus all types of outside communication. Ramp up the heating, log fire preferred option. Get close and comfy with your loved one. Someone you know, preferred option. Open up a couple of beers, real ale preferred option (no reports of lager, please) and play 'The Company I Keep', volume at the listener's discretion. Sitting comfortably, nice and warm, clink of glasses, cheers, here we go. The opening track 'Food Banks and Ferraris'. It’s a social commentary on those who have and those who haven’t, hence the title. False promises from 1945 to today's “robbers in their fortified towers” It’s written with such clarity and passion I can see an audience not only applauding, but nodding in totally agreement with the song's sentiments. Everyone has a secret yearning to be on 'Desert Island Discs'. I can see you out there using those heads again to nod in agreement. So, by the same title 'Desert Island Discs', she embarks on her own journey. Favourite book 'The Old Man and the Sea”. Luxury? To take a long?... . A person tut tuts, but, although she claims she knows the rules, she says, “I would insist”. Here is a game for you on this track. How many songs titles can you spot in the lyrics? If you have a relative who works or worked with his hands - miner, docker, lathe operator, shipbuilder - I must warn you 'Metal Work' comes with a tear warning. It’s a gentle song, telling how metal and all its components, rivets, oil, hammers gave this man an identity. The drifting violin solo by James Cook locks you into an age gone by. “He’s not a man to change a nappy...no poetry or silliness.” Encased in the oil and a life of metal, he’s someone who won’t let you down. Ready for another beer? Cheers… 'Bagpipe Man' is a good old English folk song. A story of ransoms, gallows, double crossing, comeuppance and an abundance of ale. The constant beat of a percussion drum somehow evokes a sense of farm animals, straw, rotten teeth and horse riders on the horizon. A nifty burst of harmonica blues and violin accompaniments sets up 'Murder on My Mind'. It is a funny, humorous ditty. ”He was so exciting at the start, but he’s just irritating now.” She’s weary of her now ex-lover. He’s a cohabitor, nothing else. She wants him gone. So begins to ponder various means of murder. "Electrify his chair,ok/Push him down the stairs,ok/Put arsenic in his beer.” Wow,! Hold on, a woman can go too far and ruin a good beer. Recall back in the late 70’s Supertramp with 'The Logical Song'? It was a huge production number, with synthesisers, the double layering of drums, choral harmonies. Here we have a stripped down version. Guitar and lyrics, simple. I like the arrangement as it makes you listen to the lyrical content which may previously have been lost in its original format. The old joke which goes…”The most exciting event in (insert your town) are the traffic's lights changing.” Here that town or village is visited in 'Normal'. Don’t be fooled by “hairdressers, pubs and charity shops." The town is Jekyll and Hyde in personality. "She’s a savage beast/She’s a Lola?On the prowl for freaky stuff." 'Normal' can be gauged on the frivolous scale by the following line: “Don’t think I’ve vanilla because I’m really tutti frutti with a chocolate flake on top” Wonderful. The album closes with 'The Company I Keep' and aptly she returns to her working class roots, making a clear statement on the type of folks she prefers to be with. From dressmakers, to boilermakers, to those who are there when she sheds a tear, she’s happy and you're welcome on her street. Nine of the twelve songs are written by Ironmonger with her husband Brian Carter. Arrangements are simple and complement each song, without taking over the theme or sentiment. It feels as though it’s a well thought out album. With its social history, blues, folk, humour, it is beautifully put together and very enjoyable. When listening to this album, please drink responsibly. Another beer and another listen? Oh go on then. Don’t forget the tear tissues this time.

Track Listing:-
1 Food Banks & Ferraris
2 Desert Island Discs
3 Origin of Species
4 Metal Work
5 Bad Attitude
6 Bagpipe Man
7 Murder On My Mind
8 Naked Rambler
9 The Logical Song
10 Early Bird Rag
11 Normal
12 The Company I Keep

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