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  • Writer's pictureR’nR With Rylo

Spin #16 : Curtis Harding : Face Your Fear

Artist/Musicians on album: Curtis Harding (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backup Vocals Composer), Sam Cohen (Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Drums), Oliver Hill (Violin/Viola), Ali Jones (Cello), Amber Mark (Backup Vocals), Elizabeth Pup-Walker (Percussion), David Christian (Drums), Raymond Mason (Trombone, French Horn)

Curtis Harding : Face Your Fear Year Released : 2017 Produced by Curtis Harding, Sam Cohen, Danger Mouse and Nic Jodoin Label: Anti- Price Range: $60+ AUD Speed: 33 1/3 RPM Album Before : Soul Power (2014) Album After : If Words Were Flowers (2021) Further Listening : Call Me - Al Green (1973) LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: Put this record on if you are having a date night, trying to work through something emotionally or looking out at the world from a train window. It works on so many levels! Track Listing:

LP Side A

Wednesday Morning Atonement - 4:29

Face Your Fear - 3:54

On and On - 4:02

Go As You Are - 3:58

'Till The End - 3:12

Side B Need Your Love - 2:57

Dream Girl - 3:23

Welcome To My World - 3:37

Ghost Of You - 4:29

Need My Baby - 3:18

As I Am - 4:03

What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x LP in gatefold sleeve, paper slip for record and the pink/black combination really makes the record stand out. Lyrics are presented nicely on the inside with photo of Curtis on the right hand side

" It doesn't matter what you say I'm still, I'm still gonna float away for real. In a minute y'all I'll be gone, right or wrong, I'm gonna just keep rolling on and on and on" ~ On And On - Side A

Welcome to Spin #16 - Curtis Harding : Face Your Fear

Let's bring it back a notch after the punk/rock/alternate spins of previous weeks with the smooth and effortless record, 'Face Your Fear' by Curtis Harding. Everyone needs to have this record in their collection in my opinion because it is so modern, yet so timeless. I know that it doesn't fall on your birthday Night Kat Kiz but I hope that you have had a lovely week, found some time to get some R'nR and that you feel appreciated every single day.

We enjoyed this week's Spin #16 on the set up in the front sun room because the warmth was coming in from outside and this record at the same time. I am interested in seeing what 2 x Marshall Woburn II speakers would sound like in the front room but for now we have the one and our awesome Audio Technica LP60BXT turntable. So sit back and read along or put this record on your turntable if you have it - it's time for some R'nR with Rylo!


Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):

If I handed you this record and said "have a guess as to what year this record was made", you would find it difficult to decide. Is it from the late 60's or 70's? When I first stumbled across this record by Curtis Harding - 'Face Your Fear', I was catching trains to work and had a lot of time to look out at the world whilst listening to music. I remember trying to find something that wouldn't be too aggressive because I would have scared too many people on the train if I started headbanging and also something upbeat enough to keep me awake. The cover brought me in with the pink and black combination which really made it stand out on my phone as I scrolled through Spotify. I can recall the exact moment I heard this as I was looking out of the train window as I went over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and thought - this is incredible.

I looked into the background of this album more as I listened and realised that it wasn't from the 70's but was released in 2017. Shortly after this discovery, I made sure that I purchased the physical copy on wax. I was excited to show Night Kat Kiz, as I knew that she would enjoy it as much as I did. Hearing it come through the sound system for the first time was one of the most unforgettable moments and I remember just sitting on the lounge and hugging her, letting the music flood the room.

This time I have the LP ready to place on the turntable platter and will follow along with the lyrics that are printed on the inside of this gatefold. Making sure the stylus cover is off before pressing the start button and the soft sounds of 'Wednesday Morning Atonement' comes through the Marshall Woburn II. If you have a good set-up with bass, don't forget to turn this one up. The songs have a heavy soul bass sound that works in contrast with the start of the song. 'Wednesday Morning Atonement' has so many layers as you listen along and would be even better listening through a decent set of headphones if you can. I like that this album has a mixture of guitars/drums/keyboards and then throws in the classically trained string and brass instruments. The soft start to the album drew me in and the second song really hooked me.

That song being the title of this album, 'Face Your Fear'. Close your eyes whilst listening to this one and listen to the different styles of percussion driving the song in tandem with the bass of Cohen. This one is just so smooth and you can't help but groove on this track. Harding has a voice that is reminiscent of Reverend Al Green, but with a modern twist as he sings, "Just be cool cool when it meets you". There are a lot of tracks that could have been used as the album title on this album but I think the words 'Face Your Fear' give us as listeners the motivation to look within and find our strength. There is always going to be things to worry about and as long as we have that inner strength, we can overcome our fears and challenges. Powerful and thought provoking song.

If the first two songs still haven't hooked you then give song three on Side A a listen, ' On And On'. The drum and horn intro with the backing vocals have a certain effect on you - I challenge you not to bop along to this one! I chose this song as the featured lyrics because It continues the theme - good or bad, I am going to keep doing what I can and believing, no matter what others think. I can imagine our son dancing around like a miniature Mick Jagger to this one but he is enjoying time at school currently and our daughter is slumbering away in her cot. Night Kat and I are really enjoying this Spin as it's the first time listening to the record in our current home. Harding has arranged Side A in a way that brings you in, lifts you up and gives you songs that make you want to get up and dance. 'On And On' would be a standout for me in terms of the feeling you get after listening to it.

Side A continues with flawless playback and the slower track, 'Go As You Are' starts to filter through the front room. This track was one of four that was released as a single and it has a different sound compared to the song just before. The bongo drums and guitar work pair well with the lyrics - "Go as you are, but don't come back the same. If you don't get too far, you got no one to blame". I like the style or effect that they have recorded the vocals on this album with and that adds to the nostalgic feel / retro vibes. There is a good use of backing vocals towards the end of this song which are hauntingly good. I find that I can't fault any song on this record so far.

The last track on Side A is 'Till The End' which is a fun track that has a back and forth feel to it between Harding and the backing vocalists. Harding has a deeper sounding and fuller voice on this track and it would be easy to feel that there are multiple lead singers across this album with the talent he has. He gets really into this track at the end and It would be a great song to hear played live. I really like the Spanish sounding guitar work before the last bridge / chorus. Also would be a fun song to dance along with and I particularly like it when Harding lets it all out with the lyrics of, {explicit warning} "I'm gonna tell you right now baby, whatever the fuck you do, that shit drives me crazy darling, but we're gonna see this through" The track fades as the stylus hits the dead wax of Side A and it's time to flip the LP to start Side B. The weather outside is cold, cloudy and raining at times but this music suits all moments - it really does.

The bassline on this track to start Side B - 'Need Your Love', is sexy (sorry I didn't know how else to explain it). The work of Cohen on this album as a musician and producer has to be admired. I get James Brown vibes on this track with the way Harding commands the rest of the musicians and the spoken word addition in the middle is a nice touch. This one would also be a good one to listen to live with a big backing band. The song ends on the lyrics, " Though I try, I can't deny, you know why, I need your love, baby. I need your love, sugar. I need your love, baby. I need your love".

The start of the second song of Side B, 'Dream Girl' makes me want to watch scary movies. Love the effects used on this one and adds to the lyrics of dreams. I find the more I listen to this album, the more I uncover with so many instruments working well together. They have really created a winner and I can't believe that there isn't more hype surrounding this amazing record. Once again, the bass is on fire and use of vocal harmonies/arrangements drive this song along. I like the lyrics on this track, "Come into my dreams where I first saw you. Please come to my dreams, can't stop thinking of you".

OK, so for the use of acoustic guitar and bongo drums - this is my favourite song on Side B, possibly the album. 'Welcome To My World' is such a sad and uplifting song that keeps me coming back again and again. Harding is singing to his love who reciprocates the feeling back to him. "Welcome to my world baby, the ceiling is our sky. I see the stars above you and I hmm". I hope that more people 'stumble' across this wonderful artist and spread the word to other music lovers.

'Ghost Of You' is up next and no it's not the same as the 'My Chemical Romance' song by the same name some of you might be thinking. There is a nice use of keyboard on this track or possibly organ (I will need to look into this). The chorus has a sombre feel, "It doesn't matter where I go. I know that you won't ever show. Doesn't matter what I do. Just living with a ghost of you". The one-two punch of this song and the one before really make Side B stand out for me on a record that is a 10. I don't say that often, credit where credit is due and Harding and the musicians on this album deserve it.

'Need My Baby' starts of with keyboard of Cohen and use of percussion (xylophone sounding) gives this track such an uplift. If you can, look up the lyrics on this one to put the smile back on your face - "My world is brighter when I'm with you, It takes me away. Without your light girl, what would I do. I need my baby". This album has flown by and now we are at the last song on Side B. There is a big song feel to this album closer and there are a lot of musicians added for this one.

'As I Am' would be one that you slow dance along with your love to and forget all your worries. I have closed my eyes as I listen along to this one and soaking up the atmosphere it brings during the listen. This song commands you to pay attention and makes me want to grab Night Kat Kiz by her hand and slow dance right here in our sun room. The build up towards the final bridge/chorus could fit nicely as a theme song for a Bond movie. I particularly like the lyrics of, "Yet and still I'm holding on to you. With nothing left to do but make it through. When the reason for my work you don't believe". The song fades out into the dead wax as the pink and black label comes to a slow halt. This album is a timeless classic for me that I find myself coming back again and again.

Curtis Harding has an album called, 'Soul Power' and I have been looking for this one for a little while now as it is hard to come by at a decent price. He is an artist that I will be following closely for anything he releases as I find his style of music very enjoyable. If you would like to look further into this artist then here is a live performance worth checking out here.

Thank you for tuning in every Sunday at 3:33PM and taking the time to support what we are doing here at R'nR with Rylo. These albums and moments mean the world to us and having you come along on the musical journey gives us something to look forward too at the end of every week. I hope that you enjoyed this week's spin, 'Face Your Fear' and If you are looking for more to digest, check out our first podcast! Click here.

Until our next Spin, be Kind to people that enjoy soul music and be Kind to your Wax!

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