Image © Classic Rock Society 2003
More by Gina Dootson
More by Sleeping Giant
With Karnataka Aylesbury - 2002
More by Karnataka
Karnataka In Concert DVD
Delicate Flame Of Desire
HLC Rotherham - 2000
With Mostly Autumn Rotherham - 2001
Mean Fiddler - 2001
With Sleeping Giant Aylesbury - 2002
With October Project NYC - 2002
Classic Rock Festival Trenton - 2002
Southampton and Crewe - 2003
(20 July 2003) The CRS Acoustic Sessions (CRS (UK) Hudrok002CD, 2003)
was recorded at the Herringthorpe Leisure Centre, Rotherham on January 18, 2003
and features selections by Karnataka, Sleeping Giant, Miv Cameron Band, Gina Dootson
and Tommy Binks. This is the first time The Classic Rock Society have mounted an
all-acoustic evening, and the resulting CD is a well-recorded and -packaged affair, with
design by Oliver Wakeman.
The contributors are largely regular visitors to the CRS stage,
however the first two tracks are by young Rotherham singer-songwriter Tommy Binks.
"Eskillater" and "Janet" are both direct and humorous, strongly influenced (to my ears)
by post-punk troubadour Billy Bragg, and steeped in the quirks of ordinary living.
He seems talented.
Gina Dootson is next up, and her contributions are somewhat more intense. The artist
is well known to our visitors, she has an excellent voice, in the US folk style, and her
songwriting is tuneful and perceptive. "Wrapped" has an excellent hook, and some
frantic guitar playing from Gina, while "Crippled" is an haunting, slower piece. "Slide" is
her last contribution, its repetitive hook building into a thunderous climax with her voice
at full power. On the evidence of these three songs she sounds like a terrific prospect.
The Miv Cameron band, bring slightly more diverse instrumentation to their performance.
Several guitars, some lovely vocal harmonies, and atmospheric keyboards give more weight
to these gentle folk songs in a traditional vein. "I love you" and "The Empty Seat" are good
examples, while"Kieran" adds some well-chosen whistles into the mix. Miv herself has a
good, though unremarkable, voice.
Sleeping Giant are also well known to Musical Discoveries, so it would be interesting to hear
what a full, acoustic band performance could do with their songs. In fact, the arrangements here
are largely restrained versions of their electric counterparts, with Leon Parr’s drums replaced by
conga’s and percussion, Dave Foster on acoustic guitar, Simon Crumley remaining electric
on bass, and James Rimmer confining himself to piano. "When your best is never good enough"
from the Primates mini-album is a good choice, with Charlotte Evans only slightly more
restrained than normal, while "Nothing More," from the "Embers" EP is a delight, with its
lovely piano figure to the fore and Charlotte in fine voice. "December Moon" also works
well, and actually manages to "soar" in the same way the electric version does.
Sleeping Giant offer faithful versions of songs without much rearrangement. However,
Karnataka, performing as a three piece of Rachel Jones on vocals, Ian Jones on guitar
and Jonathan Edwards on keyboards do something entirely different, presenting
completely stripped down versions with an entirely different feel. "Must be the Devil"
with Jonathan’s "Doors" like keyboard runs, is positively moody, with Rachel singing
much more gently than she is normally able to do live. "Strange Behaviour" is a fairly
straightforward version of the song as it must have been as it was written, with very
subtle keyboard textures just hinting at its electric arrangement. "There Must be a
Way" from their first album, is not performed live in an electric arrangement now, but
the gentle version here is the album highlight, with Jonathan's piano part absolutely
perfectly arranged. Finally, "Crazy," again, takes on a whole new life as another
brooding acoustic piece.
Martin Hudson and the CRS should be congratulated for an excellent recording of what
sounded like a memorable event. Each of the artists represented did themselves proud
– and Karnataka fans will want this for the version of "There Must be a Way" on its