Album review: THE LIVESAYS – Not What I Bargained For

THE LIVESAYS – Not What I Bargained For [Release date 03.09.21]

The Livesays – singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Livesay, drummer Howard Goldberg, bassist Jorge Laplume, Victor “Cuqui” Berrios on Hammond B-3 organ, Tim Murphy on piano – are back with their second album in two years. During the pandemic Billy Livesay decided to keep on writing, so much so that seven of the twelve songs on here are penned by him, with a further three songs being co-written with him.

‘Two Sides’ starts the album off with intent, as Billy Livesay takes a sideswipe at the misinformation on social media, something which has certainly got worse since the pandemic began. The title track is another hook filled rocker, with the emphasis on melody.

The Livesays sound is one you can instantly recognize after you’ve heard a few songs by them, not only due to Billy Livesay’s gruff edged vocals, but also that they use piano and organ as key instruments in the musical mix. ‘Drunkard’s Lament’ is a perfect example of this.

Nice bit of rock ‘n’ roll Livesays style on ‘Hold Me’, a song originally written back in 1933 which has been a hit for PJ Proby and BA Robertson & Maggie Bell amongst others. Once they get back on the road I would imagine this could soon become a live staple.

Billy Livesay has a knack of putting everyday lives into a simple, yet effective tune such as ‘In A Small Town’. The song has a mellow country feel, aided by pedal steel from Dana Keller.

The influence of Bruce Springsteen runs through this album, with a cover of the Boss’s ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ one of the album highlights. The band use their collective backing vocals to good effect on the choruses.

The Livesays have done it again, giving us an album chock full of Americana/roots rock treats. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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