Tag Archives: Be Good Tanyas

Frazey Ford Five EP

7 Dec


I’ve admired the work  of  Canadian Frazey Ford ever since I first heard a track (“The Littlest Birds”) from the debut album of her band, The Be Good Tanyas, while stuck in a traffic jam trying to get out of Leicester in 2001.  I went and bought that album (“Blue Horse”) immediately and liked it enough to buy their third collection (“Hello Love”) when I saw that in 2006 ….. but wasn’t quite enough taken to seek out their second offering in between those dates in any proactive way!

The offer of a free five-track EP sampler of Ms Ford’s solo work was clearly going to work for me though when I saw it on Noisetrade earlier this year*. It contains two tracks from her 2010 solo debut (“Obadiah”) and three from “Indian Ocean”, her latest release. I downloaded it and was impressed but rather thought it would be some time before it got a UK release. (Yes, I could have bought it as a download but I am old-fashioned in preferring CDs so that I can read sleeve-notes and lyrics).

I like Frazey Ford’s music for much the same reasons I like that of Gillian Welch – it’s modern but has a timeless quality to it which makes it impossible to date. The vocals are languid and have a certain fragility about them and the instrumentation is not overpowering meaning that the focus is on the song itself.

What I wasn’t expecting, this morning, was to see a variant of the artwork above staring out at me from the Culture supplement of my Sunday Times newspaper telling me that “Indian Ocean” features as number 6 in the 100 best records of the Year!  What seems to have been decisive in attracting a wider audience was to have recorded the new album in Memphis rather than Vancouver and to hire the session musicians who backed Al Green in the 1970s in order to give the music a more polished soul sound than would be expected from the folkie/old-timey Tanyas.

While I like the two “Obadiah” tracks a lot, the newer ones take Ms Ford into a whole new place, with the outstanding track being the opener (“September Fields”)  which mixes Ford’s distinctive vocals with an impossibly  slick upeat organ/horn/drum groove. This gives way to a pair of tracks with a  laid-back, late-night, sound which just seems a world away from British Columbia!

You can of course sample this EP for yourself (see below) but do leave a tip if you like it!

* http://noisetrade.com/frazeyford/frazey-ford-five-ep