Black Top Blues
Like a young Billy Bragg gone bush, Australian folk singer-songwriter Jack Mancor marries lyrics of social realism set to deceptively simple melodies that linger long after the CD has been put back in it's case. Tastefully produced by Dave Steel (Weddings Parties Anything guitarist), Black Top Blues has Mancor's earthy vocals and acoustic guitar embellished by a band of seasoned session-players including Ruth Hazeleton on banjo and the curiously named Matiss Schubert on fiddle and mandolin. Rich storytelling is the order of the day; the bleak but beautiful melancholy of '70 Miles From The Border' tells with crushing poignancy the tragedy of a Mexican mining disaster, 'How much Your Women Cried' is a beautifully realised domestic drama and 'Bottles In The Sand' is a prayer for reconciliation. For much of this album, Mancor does a good job of persuading the listener that a promising new folk talent has arrived, but when the hard-living country-rock of 'Something Double' cascades from the speakers - as it surely ought to be from every radio in the country - it feels as if you've just stumbled across the next roots artist to make the leap into the big time. Chris Brady, mediasearch.com.au.