April 22, 2024

Dan Sartain: Lives

Intense and packed: This album crams thirteen songs into thirty minutes by trimming off all the fat. The down to the bone approach has a lot to be said for it – there’s no law that say you have to repeat the choruses over and over or have long instrumental breaks. There’s the rock and roll connection too – Dan complained in 2007 that people coming to see him think he is a rockabilly act. He’s only himself to blame for that with his media images and arch (but fun) press releases. That and the taut reliance on rockabilly beats and twangy guitar. It’s a Fall that makes sense sometimes, other times he’s Phillip Pullman fronting The Blue Caps – you heard it right, folks; Dan has it in for God and religion and works it into a few of his songs.

In person, Dan is a man of contradictions – a stoner from the American South who grumbles about the lack of respect the kids have. A sardonic greaser who loves the soppy happiness of Jonathan Richman. His output is at least consistent and consistently high quality. Who knows what he’s been up to since his last album in late 2006 but it might have been polishing these songs – each is trim like a greyhound, lean, fast out of the traps and direct. Many are built on the slimmest of premises – like not wanting to go to a party – but sound complete in themselves as emotional miniatures. These are excellent songs to strut to and his label says: “We here at One Little Indian assure you that Dan Sartain: Lives is an album you can play once, twice or multiple times. The One Little Indian Galaxy Of Stars series™ even offers this album in compact disc format.”

This is spare rockabilly and cool and up to date at the same time. Recommended.


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