The first time I saw Andy White he still looked like Bob Dylan circa 1966 – I think I admired his nerve. I’ve tried to keep up with him since then and there are a couple of passages in his autobiography that I still like to quote. Time Is A Buffalo In The Art Of War is his fourteenth studio album in a thirty-five year career and it’s about the things that his music has always been about. In fact, there is a quotation in the booklet that sums it up: “It’s our world and this is how I see it”.
Andy is supported by long-time associate Rod McVey on keys and saxophone, son Sebastian on drums and John Dreyfus providing strings (synthesised?) with extra brass from Kelly O’Donohue and Renn Picard. There are only nine tracks but several of them are quite long. Even when he just had an acoustic guitar Andy was a rocker at heart and here he takes the opportunity here to stretch out a bit. For all the messages in his songs he hasn’t forgotten that music is also supposed to entertain.
The first track is the eight minute ‘Last Train’ and as to what it’s about, please see above. It’s built on an insistent rhythm which I’m sure is McVey doing something clever and Andy plays guitar and bass and enjoys a workout at the end. The song is blessed with not one, but two killer hooks and provides an overview of our problems. If we don’t get on the train we’ll reach the point when ‘The Shit Hits The Fan’ and the second song poses a series of questions; where will we be? what can we do? where’s the plan?
‘Running Round In Circles’ and ‘Friday Night’ both have the vibe of nostalgia with passing references to David Bowie and Bob Dylan. Of course, there’s a lot more than that going on but “Rock and roll will never ever die”. ‘Armageddon #4’ has a rallying call amongst its despondency and ‘Fly If You Want To’ is a sort of lopsided love song. I’ll confess that I haven’t really got to the heart of the other three songs yet but each time I play the record some lines stick in my mind. The thing is; even if you don’t take in the messages first time, or at all, these are still bloody good songs and I’ll be happy when I’ve finished writing so I can just sit back and listen to them.
Artist’s website: https://www.andywhite.com/
‘The Shit Hits The Fan’ – official video: