Paul-Ronney Angel is charismatic, passionate and brutally honest. This debut solo album captures the pandemic spirit perfectly, with a lively mixture of hillbilly rock, blues, and irony. The energy, anger and commitment are evident and this resulting album is magnificent. Sit back with a glass of Wild Turkey bourbon and give your ears a blast.
The opener 2020 (You Been A Pain In The A$$) grabs you by the throat and the album pretty much doesn’t let up until the last track fades into the distance – but not from your memory. Once seen and heard Paul-Ronney Angel is never forgotten.
Perhaps the standout track on the album (not one for the purists) is a raucous, rip-roaring version of the Carter Family gospel hymn adapted classic Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Angel takes the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s cue and makes it even more nitty, gritty and dirty. The composers will be turning in their graves, but quite possibly tapping their feet. This track roars like a steam train over the prairie and hopefully will become a staple in the set for the full Urban Voodoo Machine’s gig repertoire. It could have gone so horribly wrong but in the words of Paul Simon it is “something so right”.
Seldom did a studio album, especially one recorded remotely both sides of the Atlantic, have so much energy and rock quite like this one. Rock on brother!
Detailed background information and track listings below are taken from the artist’s PR agent’s excellent press release and they sum up the situation/album perfectly.
Renowned for fronting London’s The Urban Voodoo Machine, meticulously amalgamating the rolls of Ring Master and demonic preacher Paul-Ronney is a songwriter and performer for our times. Once seen, never forgotten his presence both onstage and recording is electrifyingly captivating, which is why his live performances are so well revered and this music has been covered by numerus artists involved in a plethora of genres. Having founded The Urban Voodoo Machine in 2003 they have released four esteemed studio albums, a multitude of singles, two compilation albums and have played on countless stages around the world making them a firm live favourite.
2020 hit and with it followed a year like no other as the Covid 19 ravaged the planet and the entertainment industry as a whole ground to a halt. Well-known for being one of the hardest working men on the scene the brakes were unceremoniously slammed on for Angel. Yet he didn’t stop, but instead he turned directions, grabbed the reins and set off a lockdown journey like no other; playing weekly live ‘lockdown’ shows with over 75 to-date, as well as creating perhaps his most innovative and personal works to date, his debut album, London Texas Lockdown.
Paul-Ronney Angel: “I don’t do anything but play music, so when all my shows were suddenly cancelled, I had a bit of a panic. I soon started to do live streams though and have now done weekly shows for well over a year. It’s kept me sane and the money from the virtual tip-jar has put food on the table for my family during this time.”
Titled to capture how the mechanics of the album was recorded, during the ’20-21 pandemic lockdown both in London and Texas. The album resonates the atmosphere of the uncertainly of the time however infuses them with toe-tapping blues, rockabilly, country, gospel and soul to produce a multifaced amalgamation of tracks that look back the pandemic’s lockdown period while celebrating its demise with a flurry of rock n roll, that owes as much to its earliest blues roots as it does to the vibrant scene it finds itself part of.
Paul-Ronney Angel: “It wasn’t like I woke up one morning and said I’m going to make an all-star album with a lockdown pandemic theme. Not at all, it just happened that way. I tend to write about what’s happening in my life and of course the pandemic was huge. The songs and collaborations just happened naturally, one by one, to the stage where Producer Alex McGowan and I just looked at each other and said “We’ve got an album here!” The title was an obvious choice too. Could it have been anything else?”
Angel plays a plethora of instruments on the album including Acoustic, Lap steel, Spanish and Electric guitars, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Moroccan Gunibri, Piano, Electric Bass, Rainstick, Vibraslap Cabasa, Banjo and Harmonica; all of which demonstrates perfectly his multi-talented musicianship.
2020 (You Been A Pain In The A$$)
This is a duet with Linda Gail Lewis (sister of the Killer, Jerry Lee) and features Danny B Harvey on guitar. Danny & P-R Angel toured as a duo in the US right up until America went into lockdown and that was where the album started.
Wild Turkey & Lemonade
Another duet with Linda Gail Lewis. Angel: “I guested with her at a show in Texas just before lockdown and she told me this used to be her favourite drink!”
I Wanna Be Sedated
This Ramones classic gets the acoustic lockdown treatment and features Annie Marie Lewis on harmony vocals.
One Ghost Town
Angel’s debut solo single is an ode to a deserted London as well as a dig at the Tory government.
Last Train To Wherever
Written by Angel’s much missed bandmate in The Urban Voodoo Machine, Nick Marsh and features his 11-year-old daughter Rosa on vocals.
Written and released by Linda Gail Lewis in late 2020, Angel has covered this song on his weekly online shows since then and in his own words “I simply had to record it!”. Features the widow and son of James Brown, Tomirae & James 2 on vocals.
Will The Circle Be Unbroken?
This classic gospel Carter Family track gets a London Texas Lockdown all-star treatment and features the stellar cast above as well as Jim Jones and Captain Future.
Angel: “This was originally supposed to be a duet with Linda Gail Lewis and have an acoustic vibe, but as the track grew it was clear it needed a rhythm section. So, I asked bass maestro Norman Watt-Roy (Ian Dury & The Blockheads) and legendary drummer Rat Scabies (The Damned) to help rock it up and I’m glad they agreed!”
Quarantine Heartache in D minor
P-R Angel’s musical influences are as varied and complex as the man himself.
This original instrumental owes more to Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini and John Barry than the blues, jazz and country of the other tracks. Angel plays all the instruments on this, from bouzouki to out of tune piano and a Moroccan turtle shell!!
With his cornucopia of special-guests Paul-Ronney has skilfully manage to craft an album that is an exquisitely captivating whilst framing the world around us; offering light and escapism while demonstrating just how uplifting and emotive music can be.
The album features striking cover artwork by Tony Diavolo. A special limited edition orange 7” vinyl featuring the tracks 2020 (You Been a Pain in the A$$) and Wild Turkey & Lemonade featuring Linda Gail Lewis and Danny B Harvey is also available.
1. 2020 (You Been A Pain In the A$$)
2. Wild Turkey & Lemonade
3. I Wanna Be Sedated
4.One Ghost Town
5. Last Train To Wherever
6. Oh Pandemic
7. Will The Circle Be Unbroken?
8.Quarantine Heartache In D minor