D. R. Roberts
Down and Out in Gospel Oak
Down and Out in Gospel Oak is the debut album from singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist D. R. Roberts.
Although music has been running through this man's veins for decades, this release has been a long time coming. Back in the 90s Roberts was already cutting his teeth on the London and New York Power Pop scene with his band Shooter, who were starting to build a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a formidable live act before they imploded in excess at the turn of the millennium without ever commiting a single song to tape. But that was then and this is now.
Having retired from raising hell to raise a family , Roberts took his father's advice and spent any down time he had scouring Roberts Snr's record collection in search of that special place in music where poetry meets melody, melts and makes magic. Fortunately for him (and for us) his 'ol man's stack was filled with records by The Band, Gram Parsons, Televison, Townes Van Zandt and Warren Zevon. The inspiration drawn from artists of this calibre, combined with his own life-long love of the British songwriting greats (Ian Hunter, Ray Davies and Steve Marriott), is what finally gave birth to the twelve songs we hear on this album.
From the opening Byrds-like jangle of 'Heavy Weather Girl' to the closing, desolate, lo-fi whisper of the title track, this album is littered with songs from the soul. Whether it's the haunting piano ballad 'Beach Roses', (described by album producer Gary Hall as 'the best song Bowie never wrote'), the sandpaper raw blues rub of 'So Close Yet Nowhere Near' or the early Faces sing- along feel of 'The Dragging Yourself Down Blues', Down and out in Gospel Oak takes you on a roller coaster ride both musically and emotionally. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.