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Magpie Salute - High Water I

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 13 / 10 / 2018

Magpie Salute - High Water I
Label: Provogue
Format: CD


Excellent first album of original material from the Magpie Salute, which is the side project of Rich Robinson, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien from the Black Crowes

The Magpie Salute, six members strong, is a storyline Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson began with fellow Crowes guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien. 'High Water I' is their full-length debut of original material. At turns deep, fascinating and rocking, it is a first rate effort. On the opener 'Mary the Gypsy', the Magpie Salute come rollicking out of the gate, with heavy guitars and tight drumming. They sing about the “characters that we meet.” “It’s time to pull the chord/Let the flood come in and take us to the sun” is the lyric. It is a voracious, hard-rocking start. With a lovely acoustic intro, the title track 'High Water' is Nick Drake like in its beauty, although more of a rocker. There is singing about the morning and butterflies; a fine vocal, great musicianship. Then the lyric captures an intensity: “Shadow is woken/I’m pulling in closer into high water.” The song is something of a revelation. 'Send Me an Omen' is a purely Black Crowes like groove - the kind of rock these musicians do best. In the tradition of a 'Sting Me' from the Black Crowes’ 'Southern Harmony and Musical Companion', this is blistering rock and roll with great guitars. “River is flowing/Send me an omen.” “Feel the chill to the bone and the wind keeps blowing/On to the new horizon” is the 'For the Wind' lyric - somehow apocalyptic, but not devoid of hope. There is singing about open arms and open hearts, with more dazzling guitar sounds, Allman Brothers Band-like in their scope and ambition. 'Color Blind' is an autobiographical number about the Magpie Salute’s lead singer John Hogg’s biracial origins, growing up of mixed African and Swedish descent. “My skin is a beautiful canvas/All the colours of creation” - poignant. 'Walk On Water' is a fine and flowing number. “Walk on water/Let it all go/Walk on water/Step into the unknown.” There are more rich resonant guitars here and a sweet organic melody. 'Hand in Hand' offers a touch of bluegrass and a bit of the blues. With a fine pedal steel guitar and hands clapping, the band sings “Welcome home.” 'You Found Me' is lovely with poetic imagery, musing on the senses, the seasons and nature abounding. “If I painted all these pictures from inside” is the lyrical reflection. The closer 'Open Up' starts softly; an easy drum beat begins. “All of my life, I’ve been waiting… to be here.” The vocal like the lyric opens up and flows. It is a fine finish to a first rate album. With 'High Water I', the Magpie Salute hit just the right note.

Track Listing:-
1 Mary The Gypsy
2 High Water
3 Send Me An Omen
4 For The Wind
5 Sister Moon
6 Color Blind
7 Take It All
8 Walk On Water
9 Hand In Hand
10 You Found Me
11 Can You See
12 Open Up

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High Water II (2019)
Solid companion piece to 2018'S 'High Water I' from Black Crowes offshoot group, the Magpie Salute

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