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Reviews

Harris Smart
Geoffrey Armes

Band: Act Naturally CD: Precious Morning

Perhaps there are many readers who are not aware that SV’s editor; Harris Smart is a not inconsiderable creative force in his own right. A good example of this is his recent CD release Precious Morning, available at http://cdbaby.com/cd/actnaturally. And the savvy reader won’t miss taking a look at this webpage either, because it contains fine example of Harris creative wit as well as samples of the music on the disc.

The basic guitar or piano tracks were laid by Harris, but the core of the band is the indomitable Chris Wilson who played, well, almost everything as he created the core elements of the disc, augmented by the occasional sax or violin overdub. Harris expressively theatrical and deliberately comedic vocals are foiled by singer Kass Crawford, who also does a sterling job as the featured vocalist on a number of Harris authored straight up ballads on the CD, of which perhaps the loveliest is the jazz flavoured Missing You.

‘Precious Morning’ opens with a witty diatribe that’s an almost nod to Hip-Hop, or even Country tracks like The Devil Went Down To Georgia. This one is called Don’t Look Back and involves Lot’s wife (a staple theme for seventies reggae this one, so there are antecedents!), the yearning for stasis - we want things to stay the same - yet the only way forward is -straight ahead - so don’t look back.

There’s lots of good gritty playing throughout this disc, and very little in the way of ‘modern’ post-production trickery, the odd digital edit or voice manipulated in a sampler perhaps, but the overall soundscape is one of lots of languid sax blowing, blues and acoustic guitar comping that sits easy on the solid rhythm section supplied by the aforementioned Chris Wilson. Underside of Down has a particularly rich vintage flavour with Hammond like organ, warm funky electric guitars, and acoustic bass.

This is good quality rock music that channels the best virtues of the sixties and early seventies sounds - for many a ’golden era’ - into a pithy set of ten well voiced songs. Well worth a second look.