Regular readers will be familiar with Daniel Meade whose album Keep Right Away was released way back in January . Produced by Old Crow Medicine Show’s bassist, Morgan Jahnig and featuring Diana Jones on one song the album was well received with one Texan based producer getting in touch with Blabber’n’Smoke asking about “this guy from Glasgow.” Fast friends with Sturgill Simpson, Ms. Jones and the Old Crow boys, when he’s not gigging away (this year saw two tours in Europe and shows in England with Pokey Lafarge) Meade can be regularly seen at several regular pub and club residencies in the Glasgow area either in a duo setting with his wizard guitar buddy, Lloyd Reid, or with his four piece Flying Mules. In fact when I interviewed Pokey LaFarge at his last Glasgow gig he asked the first question, “Do you know if Daniel is playing anywhere tonight?”
So it was great news that Meade has a new release available, Redneck Dinner Party. A new release but not a new album as such. Recorded in 2008 when Meade’s band was then called The Meatmen it’s an eleven song burst of rockabilly and country thrash, all penned by Meade, in a similar vein to Keep Right Away’s lead single Long Gone Wrong. Inevitably it’s not as polished (although polished is not a word one would generally use here) as Keep Right Away although the sound is clear and vibrant, the bass thudding from the speakers as the band seem to be having a ball. This is evident from the start with the raucous title song, an uproarious paean to hillbilly cooking where it seems everyone in the studio (and the street outside) are involved in the backing vocals and general noises that punctuate the song. It’s like a Glasgow version of Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From The Family taken at a faster pace with the family hyped up on Buckfast (and without the Christmas element of course).
This souped up take on country music permeates the album as Meade delves into familiar themes (drink, love, infidelity) and brands them with his own mark. The songs barrel along with some ferocity, the Killer piano on My Band’s Better Than Your Band worth the price of admission alone. Songs such as Pie Eyed Joe, Sod’s Law and That Girl’s Old Enough To Be Your Mother are tremendous slices of old fashioned Sun Records rockabilly although it’s a fair bet that had they been recorded back then they would have sat in the vaults for years as Meade is earthier than those God fearin’ folk back then would have allowed with lyrics like “so get your hat on your head and your ass on home.” God knows what they would have made of Shitkicker Blues, the frenzied album closer which sounds like a demented Nick Cave hallucinating in a Gospel tent.
Aside from the Jerry Lee Lewis inspired rockerama Meade finds time to visit another touchstone, Hank Williams, on the graceful country of She Lost My Heart In New York and the tumbledown heartbreak of Sweethearts and Broken Hearts, the latter having the potential to become a classic of the genre.
For an album that was hastily recorded to sell at gigs Redneck Dinner Party is simply superb and more proof, if needed, that Meade has his finger on the pulse of classic roots American music. Happily he was available to spend some time with Blabber’n’Smoke to talk about the album and bring us up to date.
Redneck Dinner Party dates back to 2009, why have you decided to reissue it?
It’s not really a re-issue as such as it was never issued at the time it was made, it only ever made it to crudely home-burned CDs that we would sell at gigs to fund getting to the next gig. I came across it again by chance earlier this year when my parents were moving house and it was in amongst a box of old CDs. I hadn’t heard it in years but it still sounded great (to me), so I thought I’d just release it properly for old times sakes really.
The majority of it was written when I spent a few months in L.A when I was 22 or 23, and I was introduced to all this great country music over there. I was already getting into Old Crow Medicine Show and there was a lot of similar cool stuff happening, it was great to be around and I guess I brought some of it home with me.
We recorded it at TornFace Studios with our good friend Chris Gorman. I don’t remember too much about the session but I hear it was a lot of fun! It somehow managed to get into Mark Lamaar’s hands and he played ‘I Remember Now’ on BBC Radio 2, and I just remember thinking that was it, we made it! Oh to be young…
So who’s playing on the album with you?
We have Richard Anderson on bass, now of the Shiverin’ Sheiks, Danny Shepherd on drums and on electric guitar we have Lloyd Reid, of course. This was actually the first thing we ever worked on together, still going strong!
Listening to the album today what sort of memories does it conjure up?
Just good ones really, we were just young guys having a very good time and I think it comes across like that. It’s hardly the most accomplished album you’ll hear, lyrically or musically, but that doesn’t matter, it’s just a lot of fun. I think the album/song titles and content would suggest that it’s not going to be one to ponder over, just get a few tipples down your throat and go for it, and I’m glad to say a lot of folk did just that, on a weekly basis. We used to play two gigs every Saturday in Glasgow for a couple of years, Maggie Mays, 6-8, then The Butterfly and Pig, 10-12, and it was always a party. Good, mad times.
Back to the present is there any news on a follow up to Keep Right Away?
Well myself and The Flying Mules do in fact have a new album recorded and good to go, it should be with you in the Spring. More details to come soon.
As usual you’ve been busy this year, touring with Diana Jones, Pokey LaFarge and about to go out with The Proclaimers. You’ve been abroad in Europe, how did those shows go?
I’m glad to report they’ve all been great, different in their own ways and never two crowds the same. That’s why it’s so much fun heading out with other acts like Pokey, Diana and The Proclaimers, you never know what to expect from night to night, fair keeps you on your toes. Plus you get to watch them every night and that’s a privilege, especially with acts of their calibre. I mean last night we were watching ‘Sunshine on Leith’ being sang back at The Proclaimers by 1600 punters in Motherwell from behind the stage, that’s something special!
Last time we talked you said Jerry Lee Lewis’ Live At The Star Club was your favourite album. I believe you saw Jerry Lee Lewis when he played in Glasgow this year. How was that and are there any other performers you would fight your way through to see?
It was great, strangely emotional knowing that I probably won’t have the chance to ever see him play again but he was still amazing at 80 and I managed to briefly meet him, shake his hand and say thank you, and he said it right back! I’d waited a long time for that, if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be doing any of this so I’m glad I got the chance. My brother and I also met James Burton and Kenneth Lovelace, it was just one of those days..
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve seen most of my heroes live, but I’d still like to see Tom Waits and probably Tom Petty, there are probably more but not that I’d have a fight for, I’ve got soft knuckles and a softer nose so it would have to be someone ridiculous, probably someone raised from the dead, Big Bill Broonzy or Hank! Let me know if that happens cheers and I’ll gladly get in the ring.
Any plans for the New Year?
Taking a few weeks off actually, recharge and get to working on whatever’s next, whatever that may be. Any requests?