Betty Soo and Doug Cox: Across The Borderline - Lie To Me

~ Thursday, 29 September 2011
When my colleague, the esteemed Mr Brown, reviewed Betty Soo's Heat Sin Water Skin album, he berated the music industry for letting a talent like Soo's go un-noticed but seven months later and her star is in the ascendancy and the music world is paying attention. The pairing of Soo and Doug Cox may seem like an unlikely one. Not because the are musically that different but because they live 2500 miles apart. Music has a way of bringing people together and this record is testament to that.

The 10 tracks here are all covers. The duos interpretations of some of the writers that inspired them to make music their careers. Names like Guy Clark, Louden Wainwright III and Butch Hancock are familiar to many but Jeff Talmadge and Betty Elders will be names that are new to most. Apart from the songs, the main focus is Soo's wonderful voice and Cox's superb dobro playing.

The album opens with Lie To Me by Austin songwriter Jeff Talmadge but it is only Soo's voice that makes this rather ordinary song shine. The duos version of Jane Siberry's You Don't Need is much better than the original. Personally, Siberry's voice has a nails on black board quality to me, so Soo's voice is so welcome. Listening to this record I keep finding myself asking why two such accomplished songwriters and musicians felt the need to record other peoples songs, especially when most of them don't match up to the quality of their own material.

Cox's vocals on Be Careful There's A Baby In The House are bordering on painful. I don't think Loudon would approve. Of all the songs tackled it is the final track, Guy Clark's Dublin Blues that fairs the best with for the first time the playing and singing having real conviction and feeling. This record is a huge disappointment that does little to boost the reputation of either of the duo. I wanted to like this record so much but with every listen I find something new to dislike. For me this is an idea that should never have made it to record.

[][] (2/5)