Title: Songs Matured In Oak
Artist: Dazie Mae
Release Date: 2012 Sept 16
Genre: Blues / Cabaret
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Can’t Be Serious Records
The music of the 1930’s and 1940’s doesn’t get a lot of exposure these days. It seems that in this era of dub step, house and techno music there just isn’t a lot of attention given to the older forms any more. Fortunately there are still some artists interested in not just preserving the older styles, but instead breathing new life into them. Now the songs matured in Dazie Mae show the results of a new generation mixing styles from the past, and passing the torch from one generation to another.
Songs Matured in Dazie Mae
Now, before I go further, I should say that Dazie Mae isn’t pigeon-holing themselves into only the cabaret and torch songs of the 1930’s and 1940’s. There is a wider array of styles and influences at work within this group, including folk, blues, and pop styles from many different eras.
A couple of examples: ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ is a more of an up-tempo electric blues, with a bit of doo-wop. ‘Frozen On The Outskirts Of your Heart’ is an acoustic ballad that leans more towards a country feel than blues or folk. The inclusion of these songs does show that Dazie Mae has more influences than just the 1930’s and ’40’s crooners and torch singers.
But, it was the torch and cabaret songs that really grabbed my attention when listening to this release. For example, the first track ‘Sad, Depressed & Lonely’ is a reinvention of a child’s song (‘If you’re happy and you know it’) in a more adult version, with a full on 1930’s cabaret style. ‘The Dice Man’ is something more like a cross between a polka and a waltz about life and luck.
And, that’s what immediately grabbed my attention about these songs, they are modern lyrically, while maintaining the musical authenticity of the periods and styles they are based on. Even when blending other influences into a piece, it seems completely natural. For example, on ‘Can’t Take No Chances’ the mixture of steel guitar in a purely pop-song that sounds like something David Bowie or Lou Reed might have penned feels completely natural.
However, I can’t say that all the attempts a blending and mixing styles doesn’t always meet with positive results. ‘Our Love Will Never Fold’ is an example of where Dazie Mae reaches a bit too far. The vocals on the track are a stretch for Miss Jane, possibly because they are in a key that isn’t natural for her to sing in. Or possibly because the bass is a bit off in tuning. But no matter the cause, this is a ballad that could have taken a bit more work and refinement.
But, even with a song or two that are off there are lots of others like ‘Jamie’s Song’ that just nail everything that Dazie Mae set out to do on this release. (Although it seems that at a few points the bass is off on this track as well.)
This is one of those releases that I feel has been overlooked. It’s been available for a couple of years now, and despite a few small flaws it is a recording that should be given a lot more exposure. I hope this isn’t the last we will hear from Dazie Mae. It seems that this is the their third release, and the first that was licensed under a Creative Commons license. This is a group of some considerable range and talent, and it would be a major loss for music fans if they were to not do any more recording, or performances.