Based in Santa Rosa California, Rory McNamara has a lengthy pedigree stretching back to the sixties. There’s a full account on his website but he was playing in the London folk scene with Dick Gaughan and Mick Softley and travelling Europe before moving to the States in 1974. Recording for Kicking Mule Records and playing with the likes of Mike Wilhelm he eventually formed a band called The Mild Colonial Boys who were the focus of a San Francisco Irish scene. Along the way he was involved with the late Billy Marlowe whose album we reviewed here and Dangerous Business features four songs from Marlowe, two co written with McNamara.
Dangerous Business is a warm and laid back stroll of an album with McNamara’s voice conveying his years, not dissimilar to Chip Taylor or David Olney (whose Walk Downtown is covered here), it’s worn but worn well. With fine support from The Ring Of Truth Trio (Henry Nagle on guitar and some sublime pedal steel, Roxanne Oliva, accordion and LH Jones on bass) there’s a Texas feel to the album, dusty ballads in a Guy Clark style while Oliva’s instrumental Blue Box Waltz is a particular delight. On the sublime Marlowe song I Bet You Still Get Blue one is reminded of Mike Nesmith’s seventies heyday and Leon Payne’s Things Have Gone To Pieces is given a tremendous outing. The opening title song, again written by Marlowe, is a strong and moving meditation that recalls Townes Van Zandt without his frailty and Townes is again brought to mind on the gentle country skip of Jim Ringer’s Rachel with Peter Lacques’ harmonica a highlight here.