The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Halfpenny Dancer



The very best music opens you up to your emotions and makes you feel something special inside – it might evoke excitement, incite aggression, remind us how much we love someone, or tap into the melancholy and heartbreak in all our hearts.


This might just be The Quireboys most complete, most realised release yet – in stripping some of the more revered favourites from their catalogue back to basics with acoustic guitars and some almost gypsy folk stylings, they have cracked the nut at the heart of songs like ‘There She Goes Again’, ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’ and ‘Roses and Rings’, revealing radiant beauty.


Some of these renditions are quite startling in their rawness – the bare arrangements & country feel seems a million miles from the boozed up, shaggaholic ‘Faces’-ish stumbling of the band’s earlier days, but it works for the two simplest reasons possible: if the band ride them with a country honk, a gypsy melancholy, or the barroom boogie of days gone by – they shine throughout.


The second reason is that The Quireboys 2010 are far more musically mature and capable than previous incarnations of the band. Spike sounds like this is the album he was born to make and has spent all these years working towards. Guy Griffin & Paul Guerin’s guitars weave stylishly throughout in the very best Stones tradition, and the added flourishes of strings and attitude work perfectly.


‘Love To Love’ is a true highlight, bringing a fragile sweetness to the much loved UFO ballad, and album closer ‘King of New York’ is another rollicking tune to much benefit from the tender makeover. Who knew The Quireboys were even capable of bringing such magic to Frankie Miller’s ‘Baby It’s You’?


“Halfpenny Dancer” is a rare and shining thing of beauty – a couple of songs step over the line between sweet and maudlin, but overall this is an album to evoke memories both happy and sad, and to reflect on lessons learnt via mistakes made while downing one more drink too many.


Shane Rockpit