# 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

Howe Gelb and Lonna Kelly - Further Standards

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 9 / 2 / 2018

Howe Gelb and Lonna Kelly - Further Standards
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Excellent album from Giant Sand's Howe Gelb which finds him revisiting and reworking with female singer Lonna Kelly 'Future Standards', an album of early 50's-influenced songs that he originally recorded last year

This time last year, Howe Gelb issued an album of what he called 'Future Standards' - songs he imagined following in the footsteps of the classic crooners of the 50s. While the record was relatively well-received, as an affectionate nod to the pop music of the pre-rock and roll era, few seemed to fully accept the conceptual premise that these new songs had the same potential to stand the test of time as those made famous by the crooners. Gelb - a veteran of more than thirty years with both the experimental alt-country troupe Giant Sand and as a prolific solo artist - clearly felt there was more in his concept than he was given credit for. Having presented these songs as 'standards', with the intention that they be covered, he's reserved the right to be the first to do so. So, here he presents 'Further Standards' - two brand new songs in the style of the last record, then a collection of revised and revisited versions of songs from the earlier album, interspersed with live takes recorded in London. With Lonna Kelly having received acclaim for her subtly stylish contributions on the earlier record, her status is upgraded here and she appears alongside Gelb on the record sleeve. The 'future' angle also appears to have been revised - the sleeve art is conciously retro, and made to look like a battered old record fished out of an elderly relative's collection. Rather than worrying too much about the concept, its best to take this album as it comes. Hushed and moody, it's the sound of a smoky bar from a film, with both vocalists consciously un-showy. The songs really do sound like the sort of things Cole Porter would write and Frank Sinatra would sing - albeit closer attention shows how Gelb is playing with the format to work his own sardonic sense of humour into what only seem like conventional songs. The end effect is perhaps closer to the early work of Tom Waits or perhaps 'Is a Woman' era Lambchop than to Frank or Nat, but that's no bad thing. Rather than a companion piece to the earlier album, this is actually the superior of the two - a year taking these songs onto the road has helped. They no longer sound like the product of a writing exercise and more like living, breathing songs - if not perhaps the 'standards' Gelb imagines them to be, then certainly songs worth performing more than once. Unlike on his first attempt at this style, Gelb isn't holding himself to an impossibly high standard. Who knows if anyone else will ever cover these songs? But if you do happen to pull this one out of a record rack in a couple of decades' time - assuming, of course, that Donald Trump hasn't killed us all in the meantime - I'm sure you'll find it still goes well with a glass of wine and a good book. Certainly, anyone thinking of investing in Bob Dylan's recent barely-listenable attempts at the Great American Songbook should be buying this record instead.

Track Listing:-
1 Presumptuous
2 All you Need to Know
3 Clear (Recycled)
4 Irresponsible Lovers (Recycled)
5 Impossible Thing (Recycled)
6 Relevant (Recycled)
7 Sweet Confusion (Live)
8 Clear (Live)
9 May you Never Fall in Love (Live)
10 Irresponsible Lovers (Live)
11 A Book You've Read Before (Live)
12 Ownin It (Live)
13 Terribly So (Live)
14 Not the End of the World
15 Gypse Candle
16 Severe Season (Recycled)

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