It sees Craig in more of an introspective mood and examining / sharing his troubles rather than (as I recall) the more melancholy mood of the previous release and the anger / bitterness of ‘Pissed Off, Bitter and Willing to Share.’
But not without a touch of dry, West of Scotland humour!
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who listens to this EP will identify with the first track, ‘Promises, Promises,’ in which Craig swears not to drink again; not to fight again, and then the crux of the song – not to ‘love’ again, if only he can summon the strength to get up off the floor.
‘He Loved Her And She Sent Him To Hell,’ is a bit of a weird juxtaposition: despite his apparent devotion, the man’s partner leaves him (hey, it’s The Blues, don’t you know!) and yet, with only his guitar as accompaniment, Craig gives the song a bouncy, stomping upbeat tempo.
‘Hard Times Every Day,’ is a bit more morose in its delivery, Craig bemoaning the state of the country in general and the hardships being felt by most. ‘It’s hard to keep your chin up when you’re face down in the dirt,’ he observes.
I always think that the banjo gives any subject matter a bit of a light feel, kinda chirpy. And so it is with ‘Tapes For My Walkman,’ even though the subject of the song again fails to attract a partner – this time because of his failure to embrace the modern, digital age. It’s an amusing little song which in a way, as a bit of a dinosaur myself, I can relate to!
‘Left To Crawl,’ has Craig on the steel guitar and in reflective mood about a failed relationship (again) after which his ‘ex’ went on to have the children they initially thought they’d have together, leaving he singer alone with his memories and longing for a son he would never have.
And then the final track, ‘Cave Full Of Woman Bones,’ changes direction altogether! Great big heavy guitar riffs create a really threatening atmosphere as backdrop to the subject matter – a psycho nut-job living in a shack amongst blood-stained carpets, pliers and piles of women’s bones in the bathtub!
Hard times indeed!
This is CRAIG HUGHES at his best, for sure.
‘Hard Times: Volume 1’ is available on CD from Craig’s gigs, mail order or via the Bandcamp page where it will also be available for download on a ‘pay-what-you-want’ basis. It can also be had from all the usual download outlets.