Short Stories is a collection of 13 songs written by Richard Townend. It was recorded during lockdown in 2021 utilising various home set ups in the UK and Russia, finally mixed at the recording booth in Suffolk and mastered in Sweden. Not once did anyone meet face to face, a testament to their incredible musicianship.
So my thanks go out to these incredible musicians who helped make the music what it is
Anton ilyin - an ircedibley talented professor of physics in Russia and musical meastro on keys and piano.
Dennis Navaroz - A superbly gifted musician whom I first met on my second tour to Russia when he played on LIVE IN MOSCOW
David Flannagan - A young up and coming bass player who I met at the ORKNEY Blues festival when he played in my band on my last visit. A very versatile and switched on guy with tons of talent.
Marcus Cliffe - Marcus has credits a list as long as anyones arm. The consummate professional it was a delight and a pleasure to collaborate on tracks with him. His musicality shows no bounds tha'ts why he plays for Mark Knopfler
David Booth - his engineering, recording, drumming and production advice is something that is essential to all my recordings, I wouldn't have a product without his patience help and tenacity.
Thank you all
"To you speaks the proud owner of the new album by Richard Townend & The Mighty Bosscats, entitled “Short Stories”. After “Ticket To Memphis” and “Live In Moscow” this is the third addition to my record collection and in my enthusiasm I am planning to spontaneously purchase the 10 other previously released albums! I have often been impressed by musicians who released a wonderful album, but I was also often disappointed by the sequel to this. Fortunately, it can also be different, as Richard proves with this now 13th album. The sympathetic Brit has the talent to write fantastic songs, has a smooth voice that can master different keys and his nimble fingers conjure sparkling guitar playing from the instrument. In addition, with his Mighty Bosscats as accompaniment, he has a number of musicians who feel each other seamlessly. On this piece of studio work we hear Anton Ilyin - keyboards and piano - Dennis Nazarov on bass (both of whom could also be heard on “Live In Moscow”) and David Flanagan - double bass. Marcus Cliff, bassist for Manfred Man and Mark Knopfler, can be heard on several instruments and the drums and percussion were entrusted to David Booth, also engineer and co-producer.
On “Ticket To Memphis I already mentioned that a few tracks showed many Dire Sraits influences and on this album too, fans of Knopfler-like guitar playing will get their money's worth again with the opener Got To Pay Your Dues and to a lesser extent with Every Man. and Ramblin Radio.
The title of this album is well chosen because with Stupidity Of Man Richard turns out to be a true storyteller
The Picture is accompanied by a delightful solo that takes up about half of the subtle song. There is no shortage of solos in any case, such as the slide solo, which gives the already subtle Cruel To Be Kind even more content. With the intro of Short Stories, the guitar lover is already rammed, but the backings, which can be heard on several tracks, also contribute to this wonderfully flowing song.
The cheerful Listen Up A Little is a song that will do very well live because with Country and Ragtime influences you always get the feet off the floor. You only have to hear this “good old times track” – as Richard calls it – once or you'll be singing/whistling along. On Rolling Bye Richard once again gives a sample of his voice control that goes from raw to flawless highs. Actually, this is a foretaste for the beautifully developed Parkland that you could call a slow Gospel with beautiful singing together. With Lord It's Time, the next surprise is ready and we are treated to a portion of Country Gospel. There is no lack of variety on this wonderfully easy listening CD that ends with the subtle and also beautifully elaborated You Are Amazing, a title that Richard Townend fully deserves because this album also has no weak moment."
Brilliant guitar aligned to insightful lyrics equates to a fine piece of Americana.
Recording an album in the middle of a pandemic has, unsurprisingly, proved a challenge for many an artist over the last couple of years. Whilst they all have a tale to tell about how they went about overcoming this little hurdle, the common denominator has been the desire to just get the job done and get their music out there. For ‘Short Stories’ Richard Townend and The Mighty Bosscats have found their way through recording remotely from home setups in London, Manchester and err, Moscow.
While employing Russian musicians may seem a bit strange even for these strangest of times the fact that the two musicians, Anton Ilyan on keys and Dennis Nazarov on bass, played on last years ‘Live in Moscow’ release then it all starts to make a bit more sense.
The fact that this is album number thirteen is proof alone that Townend warrants the ‘prolific’ descriptor that tends to attach itself to the man. Yes, the man is a storyteller, and the subject range here is a broad one with lyrics that are fundamentally integral to his songs but, and it is a big but, it is Townend’s guitar work that stands out. Through a myriad of variations in pace and style, from rockier tracks such as opener ‘Got to Pay Your Dues’, a homage to gigging musicians striving patiently for the dream, the soft shoe shuffle of ‘Cruel to Be Kind’ or the bluesy refrain of ‘Rambling Radio’ which takes aim at extreme radio jocks stirring up bad vibes, the guitar work is something to behold.
Quick fade-outs do not exist for Townend. On a number of tracks, lyrics put to bed, the guitar takes over and we are treated to lengthy solos. These never feel over-indulgent. Rather, they always add new layers of warmth and intricacy, turning good songs into memorable ones. This guitar work, aligned with song lyrics that pull no punches, is a winning combination.
Topically, on the back of Cop26, how prescient for instance is ‘Stupidity of Man’? “And we never seem to learn, try the patience of nature’s land and sea, you pray to your god whoever that may be, pray for man’s stupidity.” Meanwhile’ on ‘Parkland’, Townend turns his focus to the 2018 US high school shooting in Florida at that school where another 17 innocents were added to a seemingly endless roll call of victims.
‘Short Stories’ is a very good album with intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics and some brilliant guitar work to boot. What’s not too like?