Dave Kusworth – The Bounty Hunters

January 01, 1970

(Troubadour/Easy Action)

 

www.easyaction.co.uk

 

When the Jacobites went on hiatus (the first time) in the
mid-‘80s, it was only natural that Stones-loving singer/guitarist Dave Kusworth
would turn his attentions to a solo album. But The Bounty Hunters is more than just a debut solo record and the
genesis of the band of the same name – it’s also a classic break-up album.
Kusworth’s relationship with his wife had long been at the forefront of his
creative mind – check out his commentary on Secretly Canadian’s Jacobites
reissues. But not having to share space with his on-again/off-again partner
Nikki Sudden means Kusworth can make a concentrated push toward making a grand,
romantic statement.

 

Taking full advantage of the classic sound of massed
acoustic rhythm guitars mixed with soaring electric lead (kudos to six-stringer
Alan Walker), Kusworth puts everything into the vibrant, ultra-melodic
“Sleeping Love,” “A Very Good Wife” (whose seeming sexism is undercut by the
quietly-delivered line “She was the only one who didn’t lie”) and “To My Love,”
ending the album proper with the epic “A Puppeteers Son.” The contrast of
upbeat melodies and the busted-heart lyrics leavens the heartbreak with a
streak of hope, and we can’t help but wish for it all to work out for England’s most
underrated rock & roll troubadour.

 

This edition of the record is the first time it’s ever been
on CD – the tapes were long thought lost, until being found in 2010. Kusworth
and Troubadour celebrate by adding nearly a full album’s worth of demos that
are just as good. Of course, some of these tunes would appear later in
Kusworth’s career – the overtly Stonesy rocker “Hooked to Your Heart” and the
lovely ballads “Kiss That Cuts You in Half” and “Everything’s For Her” were
recut for Threads: A Tear Stained Scar,
the follow-up to The Bounty Hunters,
while the folk-rocking anthem “Apartment to Compartment” turned up on 2001’s Dave Kusworth & the Tenderhooks. But
the Stonesified “Blood On Your Knife” and the blazing “Broken Tooth For a
Broken Heart” inexplicably never reappeared elsewhere.

 

The disk ends with a pair of covers that reveal much about
Kusworth’s creative mindset. His takes on the Rolling Stones’ “Child of the
Moon” and James & Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” (which is particularly
beautiful in its 12-string saturation) practically define his approach to
ballads, with a focus on the melody and a balance of British stoicism and blatant
romanticism. The original LP had already gotten Kusworth’s solo career off to a
strong start – the addition of these bonus tracks makes The Bounty Hunters an even stronger statement of rock & roll
heartbreak.

 

 

DOWNLOAD: “Broken
Tooth For a Broken Heart,” “A Puppeteers Son,” “Sleeping Love” MICHAEL TOLAND

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