One man band, Ramones fan and one slice of a musical trio, Crispy Jones has extended his repertoire further still by putting together a uke based sampler album to raise money for Médecins sans Frontières and UNO-Fluechtlingshilfe.
Charity compilations are a great thing. First and foremost they, of course, raise money for good causes. Secondly, they expose artists to a new audience who chance upon them through the album, and thirdly, for the listener, they are tremendously great value for money. For here we get 13 downloadable tracks from a total of 8 ukulele artists for a paltry €5. Win, win and indeed win.
There are a great mix of global performers on here too drawn from Europe.. including the UK (at the time of writing we’re thankfully still of course hanging onto the EU… oh don’t get me started)… and the good old US of A. In fact let us give each act equal exposure in gratitude for donating their talents for a worthy cause through a considerate list of links for your clicking and tapping pleasure…
- Crispy Jones (GER) / Chris Prauschke (GER)
- The Small Change Diaries (UK)
- The U’Kings (GER)
- Professor Peter (NL)
- The Black Elephant Band (GER)
- Eve Alman (USA)
- Alan Thornton (USA)
- Dr. Dick’s One Man Band (NL)
And so to the album itself. Well you know what, it’s a tidy collection of tracks too, varied in styles with a well orchestrated track order. It kicks off with a terrific song from The Small Change Diaries which is also the opener on their excellent Protest Songs EP (of which you can read our review here). Professor Peter brings some accordion to the party, an instrument which I find a delightful companion to the ukulele and two tracks from The Black Elephant Band offering two contrasting but equally interesting solo soprano songs, Comicbook Death being a strongly intriguing song title. The tonal and style variation continues with a sprinkle of light jazz from The U’Kings to the traditional kazoo of Dr Dick. Indeed each track offers another colour to the weave, it really is a complete and lovely mix of genres.
Flipping the globe round to the states of Florida and Georgia our transatlantic contributions come from multi instrumentalist Eve Alman gifting us with two studio polished tunes including the ever so smooth bass and harmonies of Skipping Stones whilst Alan Thornton takes the honour of closing the collection with a track deliciously titled Ketchup & Beer, a country-folk finger picking gem of a song bolstered with lovely laid back vocals.
Crispy himself, naturally, appears in three guises on this album my personal foot tapping choice being Out Of Luck (featuring second vocalist Caro) with a reggae chop verse, rap influenced vocal and a simple but really tasty drum track. Listen What Your Mama Says also skips along to a terrific straight beat with a little solo ukulele riff that is wondrously catchy.
It would be very easy to urge you to purchase this album as it’s for charity, but that’s a given. What I will do instead is urge you to buy this album for your pure ukulele listening pleasure and on the strength of talent that lies therein, for that talent is abundant in every song.