Previously mentioned on Blabber’n’Smoke as part of Sid Griffin’s Coal Porters, Neil Bob Herd has, after years of dabbling in various combos (at one point described as the Scottish Billy Bragg!) and almost becoming a stand up comic, gone and brought out his debut under his own name. Every Soul A Story is an engaging and enjoyable album although it is a bit of a mongrel, its pedigree stretching from pub rock to Scots’ folk and western swing, but, as we all know, a cute little cur is much more fun than a fussy well-bred pooch and so it is with this album.
Much of the album does remind one of previous acts who have wandered through similar fields. Plucking a few names here, we came up with Nick Lowe, Hank Wangford and Danny Adler (all superb by the way) while Herd, his Scottish roots on show, even manages to come up with a song, Light A Single Candle, which is reminiscent of Jackie Leven. The band adapt to each song with ease, whether rocking up a rumble on Best Song, racing down the highway on the rockabilly Bad Land or weighing in like a seasoned bunch of folkies on the shanty like The Colour Of History.
Ok, there’s no reinventing the wheel here but we’d defy anyone not to enjoy the snappy and well dressed As Much As I Need To which sounds like Nick Lowe singing a Buddy Holly song or groove along to the sweet swing of Everyone’s Got A Book Inside Them with its twangy guitars and excellent fiddle (by Gemma White rivaling Bobby Valentino). The most intriguing number is the slinky and swampy Dobro fuelled Well Well which is a sci fi like dystopia with the band stomping along in their best fashion. Hugely enjoyable.