Fiona Boyes – Ramblified | Album Review

Fiona Boyes – Ramblified

Blue Empress Records

12 songs time – 44:15

Spare and deeply heartfelt blues from the Australian blues artist Fiona Boyes. It is mainly her on guitar with drums, percussion, harmonica and tuba. Her earthy vocals get great support from her rambling guitaring. Mark Grunden provides drums and percussion. The inimitable Watermelon Slim plays his harmonica on one track. Phill “Phillbilly” Jenkins plays tuba on one track. Fiona wrote all songs as well as handling production chores.

Most of this CD finds Fiona giving her guitars “What For”, making the listener pay attention. She surely knows her way around the strings, making it look effortless. “Devil Made Me Do It” finds her bopping around vocally as well in a gruff and hearty voice aided by a killer guitar tone ala John Lee Hooker. She takes the title of the title track from a quote by “Son House”. “Ramblified” appears in a vocal and instrumental version. The first is slow, contemplative and atmospheric. The closing “Ramblified Revisted” (instrumental) has a melody similar to “Baby Please Don’t Go”. It features live stereo swamp field recordings buried in the mix.

As on a few tunes, she plays her guitar in unison with her vocal on “One Day Late” accompanied by drums and various percussion. A breezy, Southern back porch feel is achieved on “About Time Business Took Care Of Me”, if you have a tuba player on your porch. Watermelon Slim’s harmonica increases the bluesy vibe as a compliment to Fiona’s acoustic picking. “Joy Is Back In Style” is just her finger-picking away. The other instrumental “The Revenant” (instrumental) finds her sliding all over a cigarbox guitar. She plays foot tambourine along with Mark Grunden’s bass drum and rimshots.

This woman can make blues magic on her Nation Resolectric guitar as seen on “Good Lord Made You So”. Hypocrosy is broached on “One Rule For You”. She thumps all over the strings on the authoritative “Love Changing Blues”. For the lack of a better adjective, “Turnip Patch” is snappy as all hell. Drums and shaker prop up the slithering slide cigarbox guitar. Um…I think some double entendre at work here. “Blues Ain’t Hard To Find” revisits the ramblin’ theme, a hearty blues attack.

Sometimes less is more, as seen here. Dang, she makes a lot of good music as she runs up and down the strings, slippin’, slidin’ and thumping. This record is refreshing in its’ spareness. Snatch this gem up. I made not one Aussie joke…Ain’t you proud of me? Nothing to joke about here.

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