A posthumous album is always going to be a double-edged thing. The artist’s death affects us, the listener, but the harsher reality is a wife without her husband, a daughter who will grow up without her dad. For that, I am truly sorry. Dan’s family wanted this album to be released, I believe it was already finished, with one video recorded for ‘People Throwing Stones In Glass Houses’. As such, it is a fitting tribute and document of a prodigiously talented songwriter.

Thirteen songs, starting with the ominously titled ‘You Can’t Go Home No More’, we’re in the guitar-led territory of ‘Join’ and ‘Dan Sartain Lives’. Simple, angular riffs with the trademark melody lines, somewhere between Link Wray and Poison Ivy. If that’s your bag, but you haven’t heard Dan before, this is your place to start.

‘I Heard Laughing’ could almost be Buddy Holly, both in rhythm and vocal tone. ‘Kisses In The Morning’ evokes Sun-era Elvis, simple but beautiful, ragged at the edges. As the sleeve notes state, it’s not a return to form, because Sartain never lost his form, merely tried a variety of styles, from pared-back rock n roll to electro. His songwriting always shone through.

‘True Love’ would be perfect for Ramones, complete with backing vocals. ‘My Best Fit’ is a love song to his hometown, Birmingham, Alabama. ‘Fires And Floods’ has that addictive, staccato way he had of playing. Even with a drum machine, it sounds more ‘organic’ than Jack White could ever hope to be.

‘Dumb Friends’ shares some DNA with The Urban Voodoo Machine, dripping reverb and a slinky menace. ‘Foreman Grill’ extols the virtues of the George Foreman grill. No, really. ‘Personal Injury Law’ adds some nicely wonky keyboards to the mix, while ‘Daddy’s Coming Home’ can’t help but bring a tear to the eye, regardless of the upbeat tune and handclaps.

With his roots in the 50s, yet remaining adventurous throughout his career, Dan Sartain was, for me, one of the best songwriters of his generation, a stylish dude, and a one-off. You are sorely missed.

Buy Here

Author: Martin Chamarette