Clayton Doley – Bayou Billabong
An original album of excellent tunes from an intriguing Australian keyboard player, singer and songwriter that is recorded in New Orleans and Sydney with a heavy dose of fine horns, and a lead digeroo ought to catch some ones’s attention. Well, it has caught mine, at least.
Doley has a heady and smooth sort of tone to his vocals, mixing a crooner’s style of jazz and the swing into his blues and soul. Recorded at The Music Shed in New Orleans with the Monster Gents and The Treme Funktet and at Free Energy Device in Sydney with The Clay-tones and The Hi-Fi-Doley-T Horns and special guests harry Manx, Ganga Giri (digeroo) and Lachy Doley. The backing vocalist Clay-tones are Mahalia Barnes, Jade Macrae and Juanita Tippins and I really loved them throughout. The Monster Gents are Derwin Perkins on guitar, Cornell Williams on bass, and Eddie Christmas on drums, a solid band for sure. The Treme Funktet are Corey Henry on trombone, Travis Hill on on trumpet, and Drew Calhoun on tenor sax. The Hi-Fi-Doley-T-Horns are James Greenling on trombone, Matt keegan on saxes and Nick Garbett on trumpet. Both horn sections did a great job.
“Disbelief” starts things off in a very straight up and honky tonk manner. The Treme Funktet are subtle on the horns; Doley’s piano and vocals are the feature here. The horns and backing vocals are great support, too. “I Live For You” is a swinging bluesy pop jazz tune with Doley crooning in grand style. Harry Manx appears here and the next tune giving us some Canadian slide. The Australian Hi-Fi-Doley-Horns are excellent and Perkins offers a slick little guitar solo. The title track comes in with the digeroo and blends Cajun and Outback styles into a Vegamite gumbo of funk and soul. Doley switches to organ and The Treme Funktet do the horn work here. The backing vocalists give a Philly sort of soul sound to the cut. Strange but cool. “Lose It” brings in the Aussie horns again as Doley again sets the pace with his piano and vocals. Blending soul and blues, Doley offers another interesting cut up for us. He shows restraint, building as the song progresses but never out of control. He adds some really nice organ to the cut, too.
“Truly Amazing” is a slow soul song with some pretty organ work and nice backing vocals. Doley is solid, reminding me a little of Darryl Hall with a lower register here. “Waiting for the Coffee” offers up a very special groove and some nice solo work on guitar, trombone, piano. A funky piece and the girls give it a little push backing Doley. A Chicago-esque intro for “We’re Still Changing” switches more into a funky soul tune as it progresses Doley does a great job on the vocals and the Clay-tones remain solid with him. The horns add some cool chords of sound throughout. “Starting Right Now” starts with the organ tapping out a morse code-like beat and then gets in to a high paced groove and some beautiful vocals. This would have made a great tune for Diana Ross and the Supremes or a group like that; I love Doley’s songs. He turns in a nice performance with the Clay-tones. The guitar plays lead for much of the funky groove. Doley lays out a super organ solo for us to enjoy and Doley is here on clavinet to add to the mix.
This is a great soul album with blues, funk and jazz blended into a great mélange of sound. One complaint- 8 songs, 40 minutes is a little short in this day and age, but other than that I liked it a lot. Doley is a fine vocalist and keyboard player and his soulful singing is really well done. The backing vocalists and musicians are in step and work well in this funk-filled album. I would not classify this as blues as much as I would soul, but it’s a fine album and fans of good soul, keyboards and vocals will find this a great album to sample and enjoy! Well done, mate!