Reviews For Heritage
Almost, but not quite, their debut recording,
this is a very impressive set from Terry Bradford. I say almost, as a
few tracks from The Borderers appeared on Shamrock & Thistle's self
titled album, although the band has expanded to a six piece. Retained
are Denise Alexander-Grieve on vocals and Richard Tonkin on accordion,
added are Rod Boothroyd on bass, Jim Patterson on guitar and vocals, and
jeff Algra on drums - not to mention various guests such as Dya Singh
(harmonium) and James Sweeney (violin). The energy of the band becomes
apparent from the opening track 'Send My Love', a lively catchy song that
makes you sit up and take notice. But as each track progresses, it becomes
apparent this is a band unafraid to experiment with style, with Cajun
and African feels complementing the folk/pop which I suppose could be
The Borderers bottom line. Or should that be country pop? Whatever, it's
an exuberant mix which may confuse those who like to put bands in neat
pigeonholes, but which works well as a collection on CD. The standard
of vocals and playing never falters; this is obviously a group of people
who have been playing a good many years. The songwriting too, is mature
with most works being contributed by Bradford and Patterson, in tandem
or solo. But it all sits well together, with the variation definately
working in the band's favour. Highlights include 'Drink Til We Drop',
a waltz which keeps up the fine folk tradition of songs about sex and
murder, and the final track 'Dream On', a ballad sung with much feeling
by Denise. With excellent material, well thought out arrangements and
fine production, 'Heritage', is an album which appeals on the first listen
and gets better on subsequent hearings. Certainly by most peoples standards,
worth seeking out.
THIS Adelaide group has about 30 key music industry personnel around the world courting its talents. The managers of The Pogues and The Proclaimers are urging it to perform in Europe for six months, saying such a move could help sell 150,000 copies of the group's first CD. Meanwhile, SAFM still can't decide whether it would be appropriate to play one of the group's songs on the radio.
The group is The Borderers - a wily collective of musicians with a unique, commercially attractive sound. Its independently produced album, Heritage, has songs with such obvious hit potential that UK bands are anxious to record cover versions of them. But the group still faces the enormous challenge of overcoming negative home-town parochialism to win success on its own terms.
Local pessimism and Sydney record company indifferences have sunk many outstanding Adelaide groups before now but The Borderers believe they will leap these hurdles. There is no question of the group's musical talent. Songwriter/singer/guitarist Terry Bradford has produced outstanding albums in Adelaide for Those Kodiaks, Robyn Habel and Gospel Noir. The group's gifted, pure-voiced singer, Alex, has recorded some fine songs with Shamrock and Thistle, and toured the UK. Accordion player Richard Tonkin has toured the world with Adelaide bush band Kelly's Revenge. Drummer Jeff Algra was in national recording/touring band Seven Stories. Bassist Rod Boothroyd is the veteran of a decade's band work.
The difficulty facing The Borderers is whether they can harness the business acumen necessary to get the Heritage album heard by the world. They already have established contacts to make this possible. A recent trip through the UK and North America by Patterson and Alex created an outstanding ground swell of interest in The Borderers. Now they are searching for a strong manager, to co-ordinate the offers before them.
They realise too well this is the step that probably
will seal the band's fortune - or failure. So, to have come so far so
quickly, what makes The Borderers special? Patterson identified it when
he arrived in Adelaide early this year as part of a lengthy international
travelling adventure. He went to see The Borderers rehearsing, working
on a hunch that Bradford's Round Records recording label was worth investigating.
Patterson found the ensemble at work on Bradford's brewing hybrid of folk,
country and pop music, set around an acoustic performance framework -
only this time with a pinch of Celtic spirit.