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Dakota, Jamie - 1992 Jamie Dakota



ARTIST: Dakota, Jamie
ALBUM: Jamie Dakota
LABEL: Hypnotic/A&M Canada
SERIAL: D 30802
YEAR: 1992

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jamie Dakota - vocals, piano * Ken Greer - guitars, slide guitar, dobro, bass * Gary Furniss - guitars, drum programming, percussion * Rob Laidlaw, Eric Sootar - bass * Duncan Lindsay - keyboards, synths, organ, tambourine * Randy Cooke - drums * Mike Shotton, Noel Dinn - tambourine * Jamie Dakota, Kim Brown, Mike Shotton, Molly Johnson, Tabby Johnson, Mary Lynn Renn, Joel Wade - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Set This House On Fire * 02 Sleepin' In A Different Bed * 03 Lay Me Down To Rest * 04 War Child * 05 Nerves Of Steel * 06 Monkey Wrench * 07 They Ain't Hangin' Me (Out To Dry) * 08 Hired Hand * 09 Surplus Prophet * 10 Don't Leave Me Standing


Background
If you are a regular on Ebay, occasionally you'll see some highly enthusiastic CD sellers describing some very ordinary albums with superlatives. Take this album from Canadian chanteuse Jamie Dakota. Described recently by an Ebay trader as being a hybrid of Witness, Laos and Joal. Well, having listened to the album finally, I can tell you that Ms Dakota (Sarah McEwen by her real name) is sounding nothing like any of those three acts. It has a new country/prairie sound mixed with some rock attitude.. But AOR in it's purest sense it is not. However, there is a strong cast of players, including Red Rider and Hunter/Greer maestro Ken Greer, Honeymoon Suite's Rob Laidlaw, Lee Aaron and Drugplan drummer Randy Cooke plus Von Groove's Mike Shotton. Ken Greer's influence on precedings is strong. His atmospheric playing lends to some tracks sounding quite wide and vista like, much like his work in Red Rider.


The Songs
Jamie Dakota is not blessed with the most authoritive of voices, but her songs come across well within the context of the album - including lyrics and backing musicians. Things get off to a promising and rockin' start with 'Set This House On Fire', but is deflated by the time we get to track two - 'Sleepin' In A Different Bed', a bluesy track with a Memphis sound. Admirable, but far from compulsory listening. Some jangly new country rock can be heard on 'Lay Me Down To Rest', but someone like Jaime Kyle does it so much better in my books. 'War Child' is a historical account of family ties through war, but 'Nerves Of Steel' is much better, highly melodic, smooth and subdued. 'Monkey Wrench' is all over the place musically.. 'They Ain't Hangin' Me (Out To Dry)' is more of that new country sound, while Ken Greer shines on 'Hired Hand', which is similar to Ian Moss's solo material post Cold Chisel 80's era. 'Surplus Prophet' I didn't think much of, but the last track, a piano ballad 'Don't Leave Me Standing' is moody and ambient, perhaps Sarah McLauchlan or Tori Amos in style would be the closest comparison I can make.


In Summary
There are some good moments, but overall a mixed bag. Would've liked to have seen a bit more consistency in the material. There was promise on a few of these tracks, certainly 'Set This House On Fire', 'Nerves Of Steel' and the closer 'Don't Leave Me Standing' are the best things here. I think this was the only album ever released by Jamie Dakota.. A second album would've been good to see what progress was made, but considering the musical climate in 1993, I doubt the kids would've been interested in anything other than what has happening in Seattle..


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