SALLY BARKER – Love Rat EP (Old Dog Records 015)

SALLY BARKER – Love Rat EP (Old Dog Records 015)Sally Barker’s appearance on The Voice brought her to the attention of a new audience and her joining Fotheringay reminded the rest of us that she is still here. Those of us fortunate enough to hear the rejuvenated band on stage also got to learn first hand what a fabulous voice she has.

This six-track EP is the next step in her career relaunch, which sounds a bit cynical of me but it’s the way the business is. It closes with ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ which should guarantee some extra sales but the record isn’t a one-trick pony. The opener is an acoustic rocker, ‘Jealous Bones’, written by Sally and Carol Leeming with Glenn Hughes keyboards laying down the foundation and that’s followed by Debbie Cassell’s jazzy ‘Kissing A Stranger’ with a deceptively simple backing of acoustic guitar and piano.

Next comes a classic, ‘Walk On By’, recorded live with just piano – Glenn Hughes earns his corn yet again – in a stripped-down, slowed-down arrangement. The title track is written by Barker, Cassell, Ian Crabtree (Sally’s producer/bassist/guitarist) and Martin Ansell and returns to the funky acoustic rock that opened the show. In a change of style ‘Heat & The Shell’, another of Sally’s own songs, features Keith Buck’s pedal steel guitar and Crabtree’s bass before building to a big finish with Adam Ellis’s accordion.

Finally, a live ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ is gorgeous and brittle with Sally’s voice about to crack at the end of the bridge – a brilliant example of vocal control before Hughes’ piano gives her a break before the final choruses in a feat of understated drama. There’s a huge list of projects I’d love to see Sally involved in – and I don’t think I’m alone – but this will do nicely for a while.

Dai Jeffries


Artist’s website:

“Walk On By” live. Not the performance on the record – too much audience chatter!