Cordova Bay Records
It seemed only fitting that after reviewing a CD produced by the great Bill Bourne that I follow it up with one of the Master's own efforts, his latest effort Boon Tang.
From the opening strains of the first cut; No Women No Cry, this is unmistakably Bourne. Few performers have a more distinctive voice than he does, and it's a voice I first fell in love with when I reviewed Dear Madonna, a CD Bourne did with Shannon Johnson way back in 1994.
Since then I've had the opportunity to review Bourne's solo Voodoo King CD, and Tri Continental, a CD that has a world beat sound done collectively with Lester Quitzau and Madagascar Slim.
Tri Continental showed an interest to take his music to a different level, mixing his roots sound with world instrumentation.
Boon Tang continues that evolution, as Bourne pushes things even farther. This is a CD that ends up a mix. Songs such as No Women N o Cry and Roll River Roll, with wonderful flute work by Aysha Wills, are Bourne at his familiar best. This guy has a way with what I have seen called “a rough-hewn” poetical style. Coupled with his distinctive voice they are immediately memorable.
Other cuts on the CD Bourne ventures off into the world of the Middle East and Orient for songs that are startlingly different from what Bourne is best known for. On The Terror Time, a song written by Ewan MacColl, Bourne even takes a back seat letting Eivor Palsdottir take the vocal lead.
The title cut Boon Tang follows the same haunting Middle Eastern feel.
Now I always appreciate when an artist pushes in new directions. Music doesn't grow by copying the last sound on radio. So credit Bourne for that, not that he has ever worried himself with radio friendly music.
In this case Bourne really goes out there when he shifts to the Middle Eastern themed material. He has built a few bridges that tie his traditional roots with the more foreign material, like Rain, which sort of melds elements of both. That helps hold the CD together musically.
Fans of Bourne will still find this a gem, but for a new ear, this may be a tad radical as an entry point to this outstanding Canadian musicians material, so be warned.
Check him out at www.billbourne.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 19, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada