PROSECCO SOCIALIST – Songs From Behind Bars (Gypsy Chicken Box Records)

Songs From Behind BarsProsecco Socialist emerged late last year with a brilliant single, ‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life)’. It’s the second track here and not really about dogs although perhaps it is about Christmas a la mode but, like most of the Songs From Behind Bars it’s about people.

The band was founded by The Beautiful South’s Dave Rotheray with long-time collaborator Eleanor McEvoy and Mike Greaves who brings his country vibe to the trio. Dave and Eleanor are both clever songwriters with a sharp wit and are a perfect pairing. Dave’s voice is rough and gravely while Eleanor can lay on her accent when cynicism is required. The opening track is ‘The Man Who Faked His Own Life’ by Rotheray and Greaves and it’s not the only song here to leave you with more questions than answers. It’s a fine description of the man, or rather his fake persona, and we can’t know him any more than the writers can.

‘Flowers On The Stream’ is written by Dave, Eleanor and Rod Clements and is a bitter-sweet rocker that first emerged nearly ten years ago but this is the perfect vehicle for it. ‘That’s Just For The Tourists’ is one of two Rotheray/McEvoy compositions. It first appeared on I’d Rather Go Blonde and the other is ‘The Night May Still Be Young (But I Am Not)’ which comes from Love Must Be Tough. Fine songs, both of them.

It may be a cliché to say that a record doesn’t have a single poor track but here it’s true. Of the songs I haven’t heard before ‘Tijuana Nights’, ‘City Of Culture’ (surely not about Hull), ‘Silver Pennies’ and ‘Queen Of The Afternoon’ are already settling into a corner of my brain and, although this may be a coincidence, I really fancy a gin-and-tonic right now.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life):