Pub Rock Is Alive And Thriving (On Record, Anyway) — Bob Collum and the Welfare Mothers — This Heart Will Self Destruct
Album Review By Eric Sandberg
The UK has always had a strong tradition of producing bands that promised pub patrons a night to remember [depending on how much they had to drink]. These bands varied in style — ranging from the sloppy blooze of Faces, to honky tonk country, to tightly played power pop.
Bands like Bees Make Honey, Clancy, Ace [who, to this day, can be heard almost hourly in any CVS, performing "How Long"), Eddie and The Hot Rods, Ducks Deluxe, Mickey Jupp, Brinsley Schwarz [a band that spawned the careers of Nick Lowe and, tangentially, Graham Parker] and even an American ex-pat outfit called Eggs Over Easy, once unloaded their vans at pubs all over the UK.
Keeping the tradition alive is Tulsa troubadour Bob Collum who, instead of going west to make his fortune, moved east and didn't stop until he got to Essex. Bob tapped the local talent and put together The Welfare Mothers, currently made up of drummer Paul Quarry, Mags Layton on fiddle and vocals and bass plucker Martin Cutmore, cutting a handful of albums and an EP over the past several years.
Released today is Collum and the Mother's latest album This Heart Will Self Destuct, a record that shows Collum poised for stardom. The album is a flawless collection of smartly written, expertly played and infectiously danceable country-style tunes, all but one being Collum originals with Lieber and Stoller's "Saved" as the lone [perfect] choice for a cover.
L-R: Mags Layton, Paul Quarry, Collum, Martin Cutmore's ear
Collum's appealing voice delivers poetic songs about the vagaries of relationships and the toll they take while the band delivers one foot stomping performance after another with a little help from The Dbs' Peter Holsapple guesting on swirling Hammond organ.
The album's centerpiece, however is the gorgeous, aching ballad "From Birmingham" [Alabama or the West Midlands? You decide!].
This Heart Will Self Destruct is a pure delight and I'm sure Bob Collum and the Welfare Mothers are itching to play it live at the Star & Garter as soon as the coast is clear.
This Heart Will Self Destruct Fretsore Records
3. Tall Glass of Muddy Water
5. From Birmingham
6. This Heart Will Self Destruct
7. Giving Up
8. Shake It Loose
9. Second Fiddle
10. Garbage In, Garbage Out
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.