- 15 Sep 23
Superb effort from Cork maestro
The release of Goodtime Charlie on Oh Boy Records, marks the first international artist on the legendary label that was started by John Prine in 1981. Pressure? You better believe it, especially when you discover that the Mark Twain of songwriting, Prine himself, remains their North Star when deciding who they sign to the label.
Yes, massive pressure indeed. However, this is Mick Flannery – eight albums in, with almost two decades of relentless gigging and enthralling audiences under his belt. He is more than battle-hardened and a master craftsman to boot.
And he arrives with a posse of hard-hitting collaborators, including Tianna Ezperanza, Valerie June, Anaïs Mitchell, Ana Egge, Justin Stanley and Adam Landry. Esperanza’s vocal on ‘Old Friend’ is utterly beguiling, while June delivers the goods flawlessly on ‘The Fact’.
Flecks of Hammond organ and brass splash wonderfully across album opener ‘Neon Tonight’, a song that even after one spin, sounds as rooted as oak. For good measure, title track ‘Goodtime Charlie’ repeats the trick. The slickly titled ‘OKLA’ is a beautiful paean to LA, that city of broken dreams.
‘Machine’ mines Prine, which is ace, while ‘Someone To Tell It To’ moves the dial a notch or two in the direction of poppier Springsteen. Again, it’s marvellous. ‘Give Me Up’, meanwhile, treads Petty. You see where I’m going – yes, Flannery sizes up well against the great American masters. This was no Oh Boy gamble. Artistically a sure thing – now let’s hope it sells, or streams, by the bucketload.