East coast Blabber’n’Smoke favourites Old Dollar Bill haunt the taverns of Edinburgh on a very regular basis playing just about anywhere and with almost anyone who can play a tune. By all accounts they can turn just about anywhere into a riotous occasion with their rousing two man take on jug band, country, blues and folk songs. Live & Cookin’ is a fly on the wall snapshot of a recent appearance in Leith Folk Club where they were joined by double bassist Michael Weidenhof and while the recording lacks some oomph it does a fine job in capturing their live act with five songs that brim with energy and enthusiasm. Percussionist Ed Henry scuttles around for all he’s worth on his kit as guitarist Stephen Clark scrubs and picks with vigour while Weidenhof lays down a firm bass line.
They offer three covers, Robert Johnson’s Hot Tamales (They’re Red Hot), Lefty Frizzell’s Sick, Sober and Sorry and Flatt & Scruggs’ Sleep With One Eye Open that are all taken at a brisk pace while two originals, I Swear I Killed My Liver (Over You) and Move On show that they can conjure up songs that stand up well against their venerable forebears. Above all they convey a great sense of fun, fun for the audience and also themselves as Clark and Henry trade vocals and mesh as only a pair who play together several times a week can do. Live & Cookin’ wasn’t a planned release but the pair decided that the recording was good enough to share with their audience after listening to it although by the last song Clark’s voice is somewhat strained. Available from their website or at live shows I reckon that it will be snapped up by anyone looking for a souvenir of their night but if you’ve enjoyed any of their studio releases it’s well worth investing in for only a fiver.
Here’s a video of the pair at Leith Folk Club a year previously performing the opening song here, Hot Tamales (They’re Red Hot) to give you a sense of what to expect although the CD sound is much superior to that of the video.