My Darling Clementine
The Reconciliation ?
Five Head Entertainment
My Darling Clementine is a Birmingham, England based country music group lead by the husband and wife duo of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. They are inspired by the music of George Jones and Tammy Wynette; Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton; and Johnny Cash and June Carter. Their first album, 2012’s “How Do You Plead?” earned them an award as 2012 Americana Music Artist of The Year at the British Country Music Awards. This is their follow up recording.
The band currently consists of Alan Cook, pedal and lap steel; Shez Sheridan, guitars; Jon Trier, keyboards; Colin Elliot, bass; Dean Beresford, drums; Pat Walker, fiddle; Paul Corry, sax; Malcolm Strachan, trumpet; and Michael Cosgrave, accordion. King and Dalgleish sing lead and harmony. They have either individually written or co-written eleven of the twelve songs included. The songwriting is their forte.
“Unhappily Ever After” is a story song and it may take a few listens to get the gist of it. The unhappy couple visits the judge to get divorced. They both sing the first verse. Kinky Friedman guests as the judge and on the second verse he sings “tell me again what you can’t reconcile”. Dalgleish, the wife sings the third verse; and King, the husband, the fourth. King sings “but we don’t lie together, so I don’t walk the line”. They harmonize on the last verse with “when we both said I do instead of I don’t”. This is a very ambitious effort but they pull it off. It might be a minor masterpiece.
“Our Race is Run” is a play on “The Race is Run”. “I know it’s over, our race is run”, it’s another song about breaking up. “No Matter What Tammy Said (I won’t stand by him)” is a “reply” as it refers to Tammy Wynette’s classic “Stand By Your Man”. “The Gospel According to George” is a tribute to George Jones and it begins “here stands the man who lived to tell it all”.
“I No Longer Take Pride” is about a man who mourns the loss of his wife. Since the day she died he no longer takes care of his appearance. “Lets Be Unhappy” contains the lyric “let me be unhappy with you”.
“No Heart in This Heartache”, “there’s no tear in this beer” is a song that could have been sung by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. “Leave The Good Book on The Shelf” is just a great song. On these two Cook really cooks on the pedal steel. Strachon’s trumpet is nicely featured on “King of The Carnival”.
“Ashes, Flowers, and Dust” is about the loss of a parent. It is sung first by Dalgleish to her father, and then by King to his mom. They harmonize nicely at the end. “Miracle Mabel” is about their daughter Mabel and how she completes their love. Somehow it’s a sequel to “Ashes, Flowers, and Dust” as Mabel completes the circle of life.
“I Can’t Live With You”, “when you can’t live with yourself” is the only song not written by the duo. It was written by Ronnie Self; it’s so good they had to include it.
There is a lot of word play in traditional country music and that is exploited nicely on this album. These are well written tunes. If you love traditional country music you’ll love these guys.