My Darling Clementine

Review Date February 13, 2013

Review By Nick Dalton

Location Slaughtered Lamb, London

It was like the dress-down reception after the wedding, a warm pub cellar bar with plenty of sofas and plenty of friends all having a good time. My Darling Clementine is the award-winning country-couple project of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish and the real life couple usually appear in wedding dress (her, obviously) and sharp suit. At other venues (one a church, the other the Union Chapel) they walked down the aisle to the stage; here, in more casual attire, they simply edged past the packed bar. But the music was the same, a classic collection of modern-day, self-penned duets backed by a sublime band. And, just as at any reception, the sense of a new beginning. My Darling Clementine’s album HOW DO YOU PLEAD? was always going to be a difficult one to follow, yet the lovely couple have managed it with a new set-tentatively called UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER, recorded at the studio where music trendsetter Richard Hawley makes his music, with his band and guests including Kinky Friedman and the Brodsky Quartet-which they previewed here. The cracking rocker “Leave The Good Book On The Shelf,” the tearjerker “I No Longer Take Pride” (mostly a Weston King tale of woe with Dalgleish coming in for a final verse) and “There’s No Heart In This Heartache” all suggest that far from a couple who’ve taken things as far they can go, they’ve actually got a new spring in their step. The band-Martin Belmont on twanging bass lead guitar, Alan Cook on classy pedal steel, Liam Grundy providing honky-tonk piano, and bassist Kevin Foster and drummer Neil Bullock providing a tight rhythm-have become tighter yet more fluid in the 18 months that they’ve been together. Aside from the new stuff there was the bulk of the debut album-“I Bought Some Roses” (that has developed a rip-roaring rockabilly edge), the country-rock of “1,000 Words,” the sadness of “Nothing Left To Say,” the hope of “Reserved For Me And You” and the gentle rocking of “Going Back To Memphis.” And, just to turn things on their head, a “real’ song from the past, the Johnny Cash and June Carter ode to togetherness, “”Cause I Love You.” The honeymoon is far from over for My Darling Clementine as they start to rock America and with the new record out in the summer, catch them now before they’re playing in cathedral-sized venues. Photo credit: Richard Thorpe

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