‘Broken Biscuits’ new album from Maurice Baker - a songwriter telling elemental tales(October 06, 2014)
You know how it goes - read a book, hear a song, see a play and sometimes there’s an immediate connection. Occasionally, the same thing happens with people. I find that such links usually come with those who ply their trade across a slightly eccentric curve. Not sure what that says about me or them, but who cares. This recent train of thought began after listening to ‘Broken Biscuits’, the new album from Maurice Baker, songwriter, singer, writer and creator of those rather special characters *Alwyn Stevens and *Arthur Grimsby. Delivered in an adroitly idiosyncratic style, ‘Broken Biscuits’ is one man’s view of stories personal, communal, invented and unprecedented.
From the profound and multifaceted message of the title track ‘Broken Biscuits’, through the authentic and somewhat reminiscent narrative ‘Looking for the Rolling Stones’, to a tough tale of abuse of the elderly in ‘Mumble and Moan’ and‘Daisy Chain’ about the simple joys of ‘being together’ with that particular person, these songs tell tales that make their simple messages utterly insightful. Combining views of hard times, sad stories and cherished moments with a wicked sense of humour and creativity touched with necessary sarcasm, ‘Broken Biscuits’ is a more than worthy follow up to his previous album ‘The Singer Songwriter’s Last Stand’.
The songs take you on a rollercoaster ride, the wry smile generated by ‘Crazy Life On The Road’, the heartfelt sadness of ‘Kaikoura’, the sense of ultimate waste in‘Five Hundred Souls’ (telling the tale of Kimberley McCarthy executed by the State of Texas) and a final ray of hope in ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’. You could argue it requires a certain descent into the vale of years or a well-travelled roadmap of experience to identify with these songs, that may be true, but I think it requires no more than the desire to listen to a songwriter telling elemental tales.
The musicians on ‘Broken Biscuits’ are Maurice Baker (guitar, banjo, keyboards and percussion) Jackie Manai (fiddle) Mike Hirst (melodeon) and Stew Rickard (melodeon and washboard).
Find both artists and album here: www.mauricebakermusic.co.uk ... * and that's where you'll also find the story of Alwyn Stevens and Arthur Grimsby in ‘The Singer Songwriter’s Last Stand’.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll