RICK FOOT – Rain Machine (Mockturtle MOCKCD005)

Rain MachineRick Foot, erstwhile musical partner of Keith James and member of Jon Boden’s Remnant Kings, brings to four the number of double bass players – I’m not counting Chopper’s cello – to step out of the shadows where they are usually kept and go it alone with a solo album. Now, you might be expecting improvisational jazz or a “solo” project with umpteen musicians and a girl singer up front but you’d be wrong on both counts. There is one guest musician, guitarist Arnie Cottrell, who appears on two tracks but otherwise Rick is on his own. True, his music is based on double-bass and cello but he is accompanying his own songs here and, while there is an acceptable quota of weirdness – ‘Aren’t You Glad’ springs to mind – there are no extended flights of fancy.

On Rain Machine Rick Foot emerges as a singer-songwriter with a light but characterful voice and an original turn of phrase. True, some of his songs are as dark as the CD cover – ‘The End Of The World Was Last Thursday’ is a twenty second vignette that might give you a hint. The opening track, ‘Broke The Weather’, is a song I’d have on a permanent loop if I was in danger of feeling too happy and ‘Start Again’ reminds me inexplicably of ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ or rather the way it would have turned out had Holly come from Brighton, West Sussex. The best line of all comes in the chorus of ‘Everything Turns Beige’ where he sings “we’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at Wetherspoons”, summing up the theme of the album as a catalogue of the insanities of modern life.

Rick says that he has been honing some of these songs for several years and the ease of his performance supports that. There are a few studio tricks such as the reverse tape on ‘When It Rains’, some minimal percussion and odd noises (I’m assuming that Rick is responsible for the bleating sheep) and you couldn’t exactly call Rain Machine straightforward but it is as simple as it can be given the ingredients and it’s damn good. It will be up there as one of my albums of the year.

Dai Jeffries

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Source: ♫ Rain Machine – Rick Foot. Listen @cdbaby

Artist’s website: www.rickfoot.com