Over the past few years Jason and Chloe Roweth have been developing their recording skills and branching out into broader musical territory again. In August 2007 “The Perthville Sessions” recording project began featuring the music of “Crank Handle”. The band draws it’s inspiration from a wide range of musical influences, but most predominantly from older style blues, and the repertoire features original songs by Jim McWhinnie and other fine material.
The members of Crank Handle are: Vocals & Acoustic Guitar: Jim ‘Mad Dog’ McWhinnie Bass: Jason ‘Fat Possum’ Neville Electric Guitar & Bass: Jason ‘Pig Bucket’ Roweth Drums: Billy ‘The Reverend’ Browne Electric Guitar: Craig ‘Buffalo Boy’ McWhinnie Mandolin & Vocals: Chloe ‘The Ouzo Singers’ Roweth Crank Handle
CD Track Listing 1. Talk To Me (Jim McWhinnie) 2. 900 Miles (T. Tillman/F. Gerald) 3. Travelling With Bryce (Jim McWhinnie) 4. Brown Sugar (Trad) 5. Fine People (Jim McWhinnie) 6. Who’s To Blame (Jim McWhinnie / Craig McWhinnie) 7. Ginger’s Tune (Jim McWhinnie) 8. T-Bone Shuffle (T-Bone Walker) 9. Life Is What You Make Of It (Jim McWhinnie) 10. Stagger Lee (Trad) 11. The Hole (Jim McWhinnie) 12. Man Done Gone (Big Joe Williams) 13. Flick (Jim McWhinnie) 14. In The Pines (Trad)
Recorded at Perthville and Millthorpe, Central Tablelands, NSW, Australia in 2007. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jason & Chloe Roweth
CD Review by Chris Spencer
This band is one of the several projects of Chloe and Jason Roweth, who readers may recall performed as a duo Us Not Them, and later recorded several albums under their own names. They also play with Collector. However this band seems to more about the talents of Jim McWhinnie who wrote all of the original material, takes vocals on all songs and roped in his brother to play guitar.
The band says they draw their inspiration from a wide range of musical influences, including older style blues. While a few of the songs chosen on this CD, “Brown Sugar”, T-Bone Shuffle, “Stagger Lee” and a Big Joe Williams track, here called “Man Done Gone” but known to most of us as “Please Don’t Go”, suggest a strong blues influence, the resultant album isn’t mired in the blues.
There’s a strong country blues feel, which is reflected in some of the original songs but the laid back drumming, using brushes in most instances, gives the album a relaxed atmosphere. While I prefer my blues a lot more electric, there is much to like about this recording. The tasty lead guitar work on “Stagger Lee” by Craig McWhinnie is excellent.
The album’s highlights include “Fine People” which features the drumming of Billy Browne and the lovely deep resonance of a big bellied acoustic guitar, that remind me of the recordings made at Sun studios. Most of the tracks are medium-paced with all the instruments able to be heard and McWhinnie’s lyrics are easily heard and not overpowered by the music.
“Brown Sugar” is not the Rolling Stones’ song, here it is credited to Trad.; “900 Miles” is a cover, but despite a quick search on the internet I could not find the original version, perhaps it is a Dion song or another recorded by Woody Guthrie. (Incidentally itunes calls Crank Handle’s music, r ‘n’ b!). “Ginger’s Tune” is an instrumental while “In the Pines” is also the traditional number. “Flick” is more hurried, and has a washboard rhythm
This album is also available as a DVD, which was filmed while the band recorded in a converted church in Perthville.