I’ve been listening a lot to Thea Gilmore’s new live album, Recorded Delivery. Last year’s Liejacker was outstanding, with highpoints such as Old Soul and The Lower Road, admired so much by Joan Baez that she recorded it on her latest album.
The first live album of Thea Gilmore’s career touches on most aspects of her back catalogue, but it’s not a treading-water album. In one or two cases the renditions here are improvements upon their studio counterparts, in particular Old Soul and The Lower Road, both of which are given definitive, spine-tingling readings. There’s one tender new song, You & Frank Sinatra which is excellent, too.
Taken from performances spanning various UK tours between 2006 and 2008, Recorded Delivery finds Gilmore starting her set sedately and then gaining in pace, energy and volume as she progresses. The first, acoustic half of the record offers tenderness and melancholy; the second rouses and excites, with the addition of electric guitar, more dynamic band interplay and Gilmore adding some snap and snarl to her vocals.
There’s a rousing version of SNCC and Black Panther activist Chico Neblett’s Civil Rights anthem If You Miss Me At The Back Of The Bus, followed by more vital versions of Gilmore’s rockier songs than on record. The set closes with Inverigo from Rules For Jokers:
There’s some faded out manuscript paper and an old clarinet
There is cash on the table, there’s a tapestry alphabet
There’s the moon and the tide and all the songs not written yet…