Call me short sighted but my idea of Rachel Harrington was of an earnest solo artist who plays folk and bluegrassy songs conjuring up America’s past music traditions. Her album covers portrayed an artist who sounded rural and old timey. The cover of this however is a close up of Harrington with a twinkle in her eye and (forgive me, I’m trying not to be sexist), a “sassy” kind of “come on in and listen to this” attitude. Backed by The Knock Outs, an all female combo, Harrington has made a raunchy country album that one could imagine the likes of Loretta Lynn might produce if she were 50 years younger. Raucous at times with the opening song Makin’ Our House a Honky Tonk diving straight in at the deep end Harrington sounds tough as nails while the band are gutsy and solid. He’s My Man thumps along with a sixties rockabilly pop punch. There’s even a Stones type riff and cowbell drum clatter on Nothin’ To Do But You.
Having proved they can rock The Knock Outs and Harrington prove themselves just as capable of capturing the more country side of the fifties and sixties with Love Him Or Leave Him a pedal steel and fiddle driven Nashville coated confection while Wedding Ring Vacation captures the early feminist defiance that was the hallmark of Loretta Lynn. The guys get a look in with Mark Erelli singing a duet with Harrington on the slow country waltz of I’ll show You Mine while the closing song I’d Like To Take This Chance just about sums up the album with its pitch perfect recreation of late sixties/early seventies country pop.
A change in direction then for Harrington although as she says “I’m still channelling old writers and singers. It’s just that I moved forward about 40 years.” It’s safe to say that she’s done so with style and with a twinkle in her eye.
He’s My Man