Raphael Callaghan – Blue Lies
Blue Cee Recordings
13 songs time – 51:43
On this his second solo release Liverpool native Raphael Callaghan presents this basically acoustic project except for his occasional electric bass and only one guest spot. The specter of the blues hovers over the proceedings which are often singer-songwriter efforts. He previously recorded with Jim James, Breakdown and Blue Cee. He’s a master of the acoustic guitar with a mellowed warm vocal delivery and a lyrical gift. The music is comforting as he gives the impression he’s singing to an audience of one. Eleven out of thirteen songs are self penned.
Somewhat of a title song “Little Blue Lies” is about the telling of white lies. It features slide and nicely ringing guitar. The semi-autobiographical “Blues For Mr. Bean” is a saga about being dysfunctional. Raphael’s voice has an earnestness to it being a personal blues song with an easy going quality to it. “Tell Me A Lie” features him in folkie-singer-songwriter mode.
The narrator reflects that when things are going right he starts to worry in “Untitled Blues”. He tones down Skip James’ classic “Special Rider” that includes ominous mournful and distant backing vocals. Nifty guitar riff on this one as well. “You ain’t fooling me, I can do that all by myself” is the sentiment heard on “Fooling Me”. Some wicked slide doesn’t hurt one bit.
Voice and harmonica only for the blues of “Time To Leave”. “Wee Small Hours” is a nice little slide infused ditty. Charley Patton’s “Poor Me”, the only other cover here is given a hauntingly melancholy treatment. Bass and harmonica are inserted into the jaunty “Born In Liverpool” which serves as a bit of a theme song. Blue Jeans are used as an analogy for love on “My Old Denim”. The pleasing melody, lyrics and vocal delivery brings Ronnie Lane’s rustic and sentimental sound to mind. Tom Degney’s dobro adds the right countrified tinges to it. Lane’s vibe is also felt on the tender “Cake And A Candle”
This is a thought provoking and heartfelt presentation of blues and roots music related with Raphael’s own unique vision. His adept vocals and soothing acoustic guitar technique give this effort a warm and soothing touch courtesy of the production by Tom Degney and Raphael Callaghan. Here is something that shows the artist’s creative gifts in a glowing light.