It’s back to the southern rock 70’s on Milly Tabak & The Miltones sophomore effort out today on DRM/Border.
Milly has rebranded since her debut album The Miltones, in 2017, reflecting her lead role as singer/songwriter but this new album is nonetheless a team effort.
Recorded “live” at Roundhead in a setting where each musician had their own area, but could see each other as they played, Honest Woman just oozes 1970’s Southern Rock vibe as Engineer and Producer Paddy Hill emulates the recording environment of Muscle Shoals.
Mixed on the famous Neve console ( a reconstructed desk which originally belonged to The Who, and still bears a Keith Moon cigarette burn) and boosted by what must be a Hammond organ (I have it on good authority that Neil Finn owns one), the band excel in southern authenticity. For sure, it wouldn’t be Milly without The Miltones.
The opening and title track, Honest Woman is the standout song from a collection of 9 mostly strong songs (the album runs a little out of steam towards the end), with a scintillating Liam Pratt solo as the song builds. In fact, this is a familiar pattern, with many tracks starting slow and then building. Horns come in to complement the guitar and organ to provide a big band sound. On the second track Cognac, Milly goes all sultry and Nashville twang, and Hey Sister has a distinctly gospel feel. Innocence is lost as the fourth song follows a Susan Tedeschi channel, with another steady build lead by a swirling Guy Harrison organ, which promises a big breakout in a live setting.
And again, on Liven Up the Night. It’s so simple, maybe a touch predictable? Roam rocks after a meandering start and then we are Running Your Mouth, with a horn section including Nick Atkinson adding Muscle Shoals horn muscle. And, in case we forget, Why Don’t you Love It has a little Honky Tonk piano entrée and a Motown chorus with backing from Sandy Mill and M Murray.
Honest Woman is unashamedly derivative, but you might also say Milly Tabak is the Woman You Need on a stage somewhere, leading a shit hot band and recreating the southern Americana rock sound.
Jed Hilly, from the Americana Music Association defines Americana music as music where you can taste the dirt. Milly Tabak has put the dirt as well as the sex ( and just a little Dolly) into her vocals in this most commendable follow up album, leaving us in no doubt where she sits in the plethora of genres available to capture our attention.
This is an album which promises an even better delivery served live, so get down to the Tuning Fork on Saturday 15th and taste the dirt.