Country Albums:

Devilish Mary And The Holy Brothers



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"Have a good time with some old time music!"
4 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

This album is the breath of a nostalgic breeze wafting up from Lyttelton. The songs are mostly covers, ranging from the classic ‘Istanbul Not Constantinople’ to the string-tinged doowop of ‘Eddie My Love’, and the originals hold their own in this context as well. The core trio consists of Anita Clark on violin and sultry lead vocals, Ben Woolley on double bass and vocals, and Simon Gregory playing very tasteful guitar with just the right amount of crunch. This is a perfect Sunday afternoon album, which avoids being musically fashionable by being timelessly classic.


Devilish Mary And The Holy Rollers started out trying to be
a Western swing band. If you’re familiar with that genre you’d
recognise the format of that perplexing name. And they still play that style, to the great delight of
many swing dancers who’ll Lindy hop the night away to their whisky-fueled outpourings.
Featuring the Diabolically sultry Devilish Mary (Anita Clark) the band also consists of the
Holy Rollers, two fine, upstanding gents, who serve as a sunny yin to her shady yang.
(FYI, a ‘holy roller’ is a mouth-frothing, tongue-speaking, pentecostal type, which, incidentally,
neither are.) With the remarkable voice of their leader it was soon obvious, however, that you
couldn’t keep them down on the farm for long. That voice longed to wrap itself around some
incandescent swing jazz tunes, fiery torch songs, maybe some bizarre exotica, even the kind of
songs you’d close dance to with your high school sweetheart back in the 50s. In a nutshell,
whatever the Devilish Gal wants to sing, is what the band plays. Not that she has her evil way
entirely – one of those holy rollers has a most affecting voice himself, that slides from a creamy
croon to something bordering on a backsliding bite. Beware!
Serving as the Foundation to those voices, we have a line up of slippery yet jagged violin
(Ms Clark again), tectonic yet quake- damaged double bass (Ben Woolley, who is also the
golden-voiced holy roller), and irresponsible yet anxious guitar (Simon Gregory). These frenetic
miscreants like to play their instruments sometimes slow and mellow, sometimes fast and flighty,
their enthusiasm sometimes almost tripping over their technique (far better that way than vice
versa). Their repertoire consists of renditions of obscure classics, sung by the most talented and
tormented artistes of the past century, plus songs written by the band, which hold their heads high
amongst their illustrious companions of old.
In Mid 2014, after much soul searching and day dreaming, they were spotted lurking disreputably
at some local bar by the seagull-eyed folk (no eagles round these parts) at Lyttelton Records,
and joined their roster of fine, tortured artists. In addition it features the very talented Joe
McCallum on drums and percussion, and assorted other instrumental and vocal embellishments.
Ben Edwards of The Sitting Room and Lyttelton Records worked his magic in the studio to
capture the warm vintage sound of this band in full swing.

Dec 12th Timaru House Concert
Dec 13th Wunderbar, Chistchurch
Jan 8th Le Cafe, Picton
Jan 9th Paekakariki St Peters Hall ( TBC)
Jan 10th Golden Dawn, Auckland
Jan 14th The Sitting Room, Napier (TBC)
Jan 15th Taupo ( TBC)
Jan 16th Rogue Stage, Rotorua House Concert
Jan 18th Moon Bar, Wellington

Track Listing:

Disc 1:
  1. Oh Darling
  2. Whatever Lola Wants
  3. Knife
  4. Istanbul Not Constantinople
  5. Diga Diga Doo
  6. Don’t Smoke In Bed
  7. Eddie My Love
  8. Escente Aux Enfers
  9. Pretty Girls
  10. Nothing Doing
  11. My Heart Belongs to Daddy
  12. What Lies Beneath
Release date NZ
December 12th, 2014
Lyttelton Records
Number of Discs
Box Dimensions (mm)
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