Recorded ‘as live’, this rough around the edges LP from Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective is exactly what ‘Hear Me Raw’ is all about. This is an independent group who are playing in a genre they clearly love – paying tribute to the old school likes of Bob Dylan as they go – drawing on traditions of blues, rock’n’roll and sometimes folk and country too.
By bringing together so many roots influences under one release, the challenge is to keep the disparate sounds tied together effectively. The way they do this is in the production, which lacks the sheen of mainstream recordings but more than makes up for it with its raw, immediate feel.
The soul infused opener ‘Bad Loser’ is a splendid introduction to the sound the band is looking to make, with its driving, 12 bar structure. But top song honours go to ‘Don’t Cry’, which has some lovely chord patterns, excellent growling vocal delivery and a coda which, in a nice touch, completely changes time signature and feel. Other highlights include title track ‘Good Time’, with a nicely thrown vocal, and ‘Jewel In The Crown’, with its straight rhythm and slide guitar lending to a country feel.
By Ethan Campbell