Johnny Flynn – Been Listening

January 01, 1970

(Transgressive/Thirty Tigers)

 

www.thirtytigers.com

In the space of only two solo albums, Johnny Flynn has attained a stature
befitting a folk rocker of the first order, a musician whose somber delivery
oftentimes contrasts with his carefully embellished arrangements. That makes
typecasting difficult at the outset; with Been
Listening
it’s clear that Flynn’s been shaking up his palette, absorbing
influences of Brit trad forebears, rugged rootsy troubadours and music hall
iconoclasts like Weill and Brecht. In theory, it might appear an unlikely mix,
but put into practice it makes for a wonderful amalgam, one that embraces the
steel drums and robust horns of the impressive opener “Kentucky Pill,” the old
folk fervor of “Barnacled Warship” and the winsome duets “The Water” and
“Amazon Love.” Flynn himself proves a model of instrumental dexterity, shifting
effortlessly from gutbucket guitar to mandolin, violin, ukulele, trumpet and keyboards,
sometimes within the space of a single song.

 

Still, what’s most striking about Been Listening is its dusty ambiance,
which, with its cluttered arrangements, often sounds as if its part and parcel
of an old storage chest buried in the attic and filled with family heirlooms.
Flynn is a master of wistful reflection, but his unhurried tempos and sobering
sentiments gives these songs a well-worn feel, one that’s weathered, resilient
and yet immediately striking. Emotive and expressive, Been Listening sounds, quite simply, like Flynn’s first
masterpiece.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Kentucky Pill,” “Barnacled Warship,” “The
Water” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

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