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Mark Harrison - Turpentine (Highway Records)
A clue to how British blues singer Mark Harrison came up with the title of his fifth album release might be found in the opening song Black Dog Moan, but also the idea might pertain to Hardware Store, a lilting country blues, which aptly addresses this reviewer's own particular fear of everything DIY. If we can for a moment rid ourselves of the prevailing smell of turps, we also discover a further ten songs and just the one instrumental, each of which somewhere along the folk end of the blues spectrum, with a nod to such notable influences as Charley Patton and Blind Willie McTell on both National steel and twelve-string guitars respectively. The general feel of the album is of a jingle-jangle guitar picking nature with occasional electric guitar runs thrown in. There's a lightness of touch rarely heard on blues records these days, which makes the album feel relaxed and even dare I say, cheerful. The Cajun feel to the concluding track Shake the House, shows a further side of Harrison's repertoire and allows for a bit of a band workout. Produced by Tim Bazel, TURPENTINE also features Charles Benfield on double bass, Ed Hopwood on drums, percussion and harmonica and multi instrumentalist Paul Tkachenko handling the rest.