Steve Baker - Too Much Is Never Enough (CD)
TZ2491Regular price $17.64
Originally from London, the music of harp player, singer and composer Steve Baker is both accomplished and stylistically varied. He has long enjoyed an international reputation as an innovative pioneer on the diatonic harmonica. As a songwriter, he spans a wide stylistic range, stretching from Americana and country to blues, rock and even reggae. Whether snappy funk or dreamy ballads, Baker's pop sensibility always comes across clearly. His songs have catchy choruses, are deeply personal while avoiding clichés, and somehow also seem very English.
His first two solo releases, Perfect Getaway (TZ 1473, 2018) and The Great Divide (TZ 1884, 2020), were recorded with an electric band and were correspondingly rock-oriented. For his third solo album, Steve returns to his folk roots. With Too Much Is Never Enough, he presents a collection of mainly acoustic tunes, mostly written during the pandemic. The new songs were recorded by Uli Kringler in MCE Studio 3 with Jeff Walker (upright bass & vocals) and Robert Carl Blank (guitar & vocals), Heinz Lichius (drums) and Yogi Jockusch (percussion). Uli contributed additional guitar parts and Stefan Stoppok plays waldzither on two tracks, while Steve’s daughter Gina sings harmony on one title.
The sound is reduced to essentials, a gripping and rhythmically sophisticated combination of sparse instrumentation and three-part vocal harmonies. Characterised by great dynamics, the sound alternates between airy openness and rich density. Steve employs his instantly recognisable harp style to create elegantly crafted solo passages, but always in the service of the song. This makes for an exciting, powerful and appealing overall sound that perfectly supports his haunting lyricism.
And that brings us to the lyrics. Baker's new songs radiate attitude. He makes no bones about his convictions, with a collection of both political and deeply personal songs that unsparingly reflect and comment on our turbulent times. There’s a certain similarity to the work of colleagues such as Billy Bragg. With the exception of Bob Dylan's "I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine", all songs are his original compositions. With Too Much Is Never Enough, Steve Baker comes closer to realising his personal musical vision and presents his most uncompromising work to date.
01 Poison Chalice
02 Bad Blood
03 I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
04 Charles Delondes Ghost
05 Take Me For A Fool
06 Distant Shore
07 Too Broken To Mend
08 Fools Paradise
09 Terminal Road
10 Gina’s Lullaby