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David Rotherary
Answer Ballads


Artists: Lisa Knapp, Elzia Carthy, Kris Drever, Kathryn Williams, Gemma Hayes, John Smith, Josienne Clarke, Naomi Bedford, Mary Coughlan, Jackie Oates, Bella Hardy, Alastair Roberts, Julie Murphy
Label: Navigator Records
RRP: £13.99
Navigator 086P
Release Date: 14 October 2013

Songwriter David Rotheray (Beautiful South) returns with his new solo album Answer Ballads, a collection of songs in which Rotheray, and his collaborators, take twelve classic pop songs and attempt to formulate an ‘Answer Ballad’ for each one. Taking existing fictional characters, from The Police’s “Roxanne” to Elton John’s “Daniel”, who are well-known but simultaneously unknown, Rotheray picks up the story from their perspective, using complete artistic licence...

Answer Ballads is an interesting idea for an album take some classic songs and then take up the story from the main subject of that song. I'm still not sure if this actually works that well. Was it truly an inspired idea, or was Rotheray desperately looking for a way to link all the tracks on his new project and accidentally hit on this idea after a few too many spirits?

The musical style hovers between folk and light music, and won't be warmly welcomed by everyone - in fact fans of Rotheray's work with The Beautiful South may be totally disappointed at how middle of the road his new sound is. Likewise, with a different singer on each track, it becomes increasingly difficult to view it as one memorable project.

Personally, it wasn't an album I'd be rushing to listen to again any time soon, but I'm sure that there will be many out there who get what Rotheray was attempting.

Track listing:

01 - 'Mrs Jones' Song' - Featuring Lisa Knapp ('Me & Mrs Jones')
02 - 'Maggie's Song' - Featuring Elzia Carthy ('Maggie May')
03 - 'Daniel's Song' - Featuring Kris Drever ('Daniel')
04 - 'Roxanne's Song' - Featuring Kathryn Williams ('Roxanne')
05 - 'Pearl's Song' - Featuring Gemma Hayes ('Pearl's a Singer')
06 - 'Billy-Joe's Song' - Featuring John Smith ('Don't Take Your Guns to Town')
07 - 'Marie's Song' - Featuring Josienne Clarke ('Memphis, Tenessee')
08 - 'Bobby's Song' - Featuring Naomi Bedford ('Me & Bobby McGee')
09 - 'Lucille's Song' - Featuring Mary Coughlan ('You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille')
10 - 'Mrs Avery's Song' - Featuring Jackie Oates ('Sylvia's Mother')
11 - 'Sylvia's Song' - Featuring Bella Hardy ('Sylvia's Mother')
12 - 'Dino's Song' - Featuring Alastair Roberts ('The Boys are Back in Town')
13 - 'Jolene's Song - Featuring Julie Murphy ('Jolene')


Nick Smithson

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