The return of the Godfather of UK Americana, Geraint Watkins, with a beautifully crafted new album, co-produced by Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx, out on September 13th.
Those who know of Geraint Watkins fully understand his importance to roots-influenced music in Britain over the past forty years plus. In the ’70s Watkins was proto-Americana trail-blazer in his native Wales with Red, Beans & Rice and Juice On The Loose and then in London with The Balham Alligators.
For many years Geraint was the keystone of the bands of Nick Lowe, Van Morrison, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Dave Edmunds and countless more, also capturing his own quirky take on roots rock on a handful of solo albums. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first of those, the superb self-titled Geraint Watkins & The Dominators.
For 2019’s Rush Of Blood, he teams up with Brit and Billboard Awards winner Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx (Janet Jackson, Yoko Ono, Justin Timberlake). This slightly surprising, but remarkably effective partnership —aided by some master musicians—has produced what will surely come to be regarded as his finest solo project yet.
“Simon got in touch through Jungle Records who put out In A Bad Mood, which he was a big fan of. We’d do some recording, he’d take it away and work obsessively on it, come back and I’d change a bit and so on.” says Watkins.
Ratcliffe produced all but two of the album’s ten tracks, the others being produced by Watkins himself. “As well as the songs we wrote together, Simon picked all of the songs of mine to do. A lot of the overdubs were done online – Simon literally looked up musicians online who were offering their overdub services almost incognito – and coincidentally one of these incognito people was Sarah Jory whom I’d worked with for Van Morrison.”
Rush Of Blood kicks off with its standout title track, which, Watkins says, “began as a sort of slow euro blues—now it’s more spaghetti Western.” The album ventures onward, running the gamut from country, to jazz and blues, old-skool R’n’B and back again, all shot through with Watkins’s alchemical Cymric eccentricity, and Ratcliffe’s quirky 21st Century pop aesthetic.
1. Rush of Blood
2. Hold Back
3. Heart of Stone
4. Middle of the Night
5. Heaven Only Knows
6. On the Inside
7. On My Mind
8. I Got the Blues
9. Reason to Live
10. Another Day Over