McKinley Black – Beggars Fools And Thieves (2011)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:00 minutes | Basic LQ covers included | 1,72 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Basic LQ covers included | 812 MB
Genre: Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Rock
A seventh child (blues aficionados would call that auspicious), McKinley Black reversed course and moved to Europe to develop her career. Possessing a distinctive voice and songwriting proficiency, she uses her music as a means of self exploration. In the tradition of American singer/songwriters, Black has shaped very personal feelings into song. The influences include rock, country, blues, and soul.
Black’s newest release Beggars, Fools And Thieves consists of eleven original compositions detailing philosophical themes of everyday life. The opening track, High Noon, is an introspective folk song that frames her crystalline voice against acoustic guitar. The arrangement benefits from dobro (Ian Melrose) and a vocal duo (Pam Wischofsky and Mitch Steinberg) singing backup. “Hold On” continues the smooth vibe as studio veteran singer Lea Morris adds another layer to the chorus. Switching to mandolin, Black creates a rhythmic groove on “Mother”, balanced by some nimble guitar by Melrose. The lyrical content delves into spiritual imagery inspired by the likes of Shakespeare, Bacon, Gibran, Cicero and Buddha. A deeply moving “This Train” becomes a gospel hymn with a rolling cadence and dramatic stops. Despite the familiarity of phrasing (…”this train is bound for glory”…) the lush vocals and underscored instrumentation provides a heartfelt sentiment.
The pace is more vigorous on the title track. Perhaps rumination on the life of a troubadour, it strikes a prescient chord. The singer pays tribute to her grandmother on “Bailinho da Maria”. Sung in English and Portuguese (Katharina Franck and Julia Correira lend their vocal talents), the band creates an ethnic dance with clarinet accents (Jan Hermerschmidt) and Melrose on waldzither (a nine “steel string” instrument from Germany). Immigration existence is told with profound expression. Stockfisch Records is renowned for having a stable of talented recording artists/session players. A haunting, string quartet complements Black’s hushed vocals on “Hunger”.
Stockfisch has become a leader in SACD engineering. Beggars, Fools And Thieves is yet another example of superior acoustics and mastering. The variety of stringed instruments is captured with depth and lucidity. Guitars in particular have a rich texture. Discreet touches like a clarinet or whistle are woven into the mix in a natural manner. The recording of the lead and backup voices is sparkling.
01. High Noon
02. All I Need
03. Beggars, Fools and Thieves
04. Hold On
06. Love Like Mine
07. Bailinho da Maria
11. This Train