The Boombox Ballads

The Boombox Ballads

by Sweet Baboo

CD

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Overview

The Boombox Ballads

Coming off of 2013's critically acclaimed Ships and an appearance on countrywoman Cate Le Bon's Mug Museum, for his fifth studio album under the Sweet Baboo pseudonym, Welsh indie singer/songwriter Stephen Black enlisted arranger Paul Jones to help him streamline instrumentation to focus on vocals. The resulting The Boombox Ballads is a smile-inducing collection of mostly lighthearted, romantic ditties with a retro-tinged timelessness. His best-sounding record so far production-wise, there's nothing plain about the presentation -- which incorporates frequent strings, piano, guitars, drums, brass, occasional double-tracking, backing vocals, and more -- but simplicity is key, and old-fashioned charisma leads the charge. With a quirky, agreeable, and diverse songwriting style that's remindful of a mix of Robyn Hitchcock, Ray Davies, and stated influence Jonathan Richman, the sounds of early pop
ock also shine through The Boombox Ballads, an abiding nightclub show of an album. The opener, "Sometimes," is a playful, marching guy-and-a-guitar ballad (with oompah band), and the exquisite "Two Lucky Magpies" features a wistful vocal melody with only strings and piano accompaniment ("I have a girl that I do love/And for me that is enough"). Meanwhile, a full-band serenade crafted of conversational remembrances, "Got to Hang on to You," oozes a retro quality, specifically doo wop. While The Boombox Ballads isn't all ballads, it is all love songs. "Walking in the Rain" offers a traditional country song polished with strings and indie pop sheen. It's about exactly what the title says, albeit with reference to the contemporary 24-hour news cycle, and a big, synthy key change just to keep things merry ("We should take off all our clothes and get dry from this rain"). Album highlight "You Got Me Time Keeping," an irresistibly catchy, Motown-grooved duet with Tender Prey (aka Laura Bryon), incorporates an ominous midsection and dreamy prom slow-dance ending that will result in few complaints for its seven-minute length. "The Boombox Ballad" itself is, ironically, a lively instrumental. Combining Black's unpretentious vocal quality, which delivers tenderness with a high level of sincerity, with his usually whimsical lyrics, which convey both humor and an unspoken self-depreciation, he's charming times ten. With durable songs, classic melodies, an idiosyncratic manner, wit, and a transportive quality to the arrangements, it'd be greedy to ask much more of a singing songsmith.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/21/2015
Label: Imports
UPC: 5414939922251
catalogNumber: 5017468

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sweet Baboo   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Strings,Bass Clarinet,Drums,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Electric Sitar,Vocoder
Charlie Francis   Synthesizer,Bass,Background Vocals,Wood Block,Synthesizer Bass,Synthesizer Brass
Avvon Chambers   Castanets,Conga,Drums
Rob Jones   Bass,Trumpet,Vibes
Cate Le Bon   Organ
Daniel Ward   Drums
Gwion Llewelyn   Cornet
H. Hawkline   Bass,Guitar
Lewis Griffiths   Trombone
Rhodri Viney   Pedal Steel Guitar
Tender Prey   Vocals
Zervas and Pepper   Background Vocals
Niamh Ferris   Violin,Viola
Katy Rowe   Violin
Llew Blackford   Background Vocals
Christiana Mavron   Violin
Bronwen Blatchford   Background Vocals
Paul Jones   Organ,Synthesizer,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Strings,Drums,Tenor Saxophone,Brass,Woodwind,Vocoder,Synthesizer Strings,Bowed Cymbals

Technical Credits

Charlie Francis   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Jonny Trunk   Liner Notes
Rob Jones   Engineer
Cate Le Bon   Composer
Sweet Baboo   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Laura Bryon   Composer
Paul Jones   Arranger,Composer,String Arrangements

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