|Dimensions||12.5 × .10 × 12.5 cm|
CD Review by Ian Dearden
Two of Brisbane’s better known folk identities, Julie Minto (Juju) and Lex Weddell (Sugar Cane Slim) have slipped into semi-anonymity in the guise of a new duo, Mama Juju, whose eponymous album has just been released.
Recorded (so the album notes allege) “especially by the Filma label on their portable magnetised Bakelite Recordon recorder using the patented super tonal Microgroove electric process”, and sporting entrancing artwork and retro schtick, this is a superb debut album.
Lex has abandoned his usual bass guitar and instead displays great guitar chops playing a range of blues/folk/jazz/ragtime/ swing accompaniments to the (vocally speaking) shapeshifting Julie, who slips effortlessly from genre to genre.
One moment she’s a 1930s blues mama ((He May Be Your Man), then she’s the soundtrack singer in a piece of 1950s film noir (Keep It To Yourself), seconds later she’s a 1960s pop chanteuse (Autumn Leaves), before slipping into a fabulous reading of one of my all time favourite songs, John Martyn’s May You Never (absent the original’s slurred vocal!).
Next Julie’s applying multi-tracked Andrews Sisters style harmonies to the Ames Brothers 1951 song Undecided, some fullon bad girrrl attitude on Big Bad Handsome Man and Bad Attitude (best excuse for bad behaviour that I’ve heard in a long while), then a Western Swing approach to Sweetheart, before winding up proceedings with Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes, which I gotta say had me begging for more.
As far as I could work out, the response from Mama Juju was “In these shoes/I don’t think so!!”
Great album, terrific production values, with the duo sound subtly enhanced at times with violin, sax, percussion and harmonica, but otherwise sparse, in your face and very very enticing.
I never cease to be amazed at the talent that is pouring out of places like Brisbane – no longer a backwater of the music scene, but a happening place.
You can find out more about Mama Juju at their website www.mamajuju. com.au, and they’re doing lots of gigging, so hopefully they’ll turn up at a venue or festival near you, soon!! Don’t miss them.
4 in stock (can be backordered)