Hot on the heels of From The Mesa comes The Adventures Of Mabel & Carter, Betty Benedeadly’s sophomore release. The EP’s title refers to the two baby Polish chicks Betty has been raising who in turn derived their names from and in tribute to Mother Maybelle Carter (Johnny Cash’s mother-in-law) about whom Benedeadly states ‘was a matriarch and architect of what eventually became rock & roll, and so few people know her name’. The guitar playing is known as the ‘Carter Scratch’ originates from Maybelle which people far more versed in musicianship than I will be able to interpret.
Assisting Betty on the EP are Braden Guess – guitar, bass, percussion, Heather Thomas – drums on The Voice Of The Fire and Belle Cardinal – vocals/singing bowls on Transmutation. The promo-notes promise a continuation of ‘the solo musician’s sonic exploration of psychedelic folk, blending her signature cinematic, spaghetti western guitar riffs with surf, Americana and rock & roll’ and this is certainly lived up to with Rite Of The Dusty Trail.
Being English and having lived in dull rain-sodden towns for the majority of my life, anything that intonates the exotic and glamorous is bound to court appeal and this is amply achieved with this number. The spirit of John Ford and his legendary Westerns (The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? etc) loom large in the music and a great expansiveness unfolds; promising an enticing landscape that stands in stark contrast to that currently being offered by the howling wind and pelting rain outside my window; aka your average day in Lancaster (UK).
The Voice Of The Fire has a foot-stomping cow-punk edge and moves along at a fair old lick ala The Meat Puppets, The Gun Club, Rank and File and current favourites Black TarPoon. Due to the aforementioned punk inclinations, the track feels a lot more streamlined and driving, there are no psych based ‘out there’ moments and to put it in crude layman’s terms it’s pretty balls to the wall stuff, which is perfectly fine by me.
pure ear candy and a veritable delight to listen to…
Transmutation demands you close your eyes and lose yourself in its delicately composed exquisite surf charms in a way that recalls The Enchanted Guitar of Pekka Laine album (that made my Sleeping Shaman Top Ten of 2021). The track taps into my romantic sentimental side (not one that is accessed very often) and I could foresee myself under a starry desert sky with a beloved. One of my favourite films as a child was Back To The Future and Transmutation would have fit in perfectly alongside Earth Angel at The Enchanted Under The Sea Dance where Marty’s parents start to fall in love, pure ear candy and a veritable delight to listen to.
Release The Reins oozes cool and swagger in spades and will even have those like me, who are averse to dancing, up on their feet. There is a blues stomp prevalent that is unquestionably catchy and I defy anyone not to immerse themselves fully in its celebratory splendour.
From The Mesa would have made my End of Year Top Ten were it not for the sheer plethora of excellent releases I was confronted with, a sure-fire positive sign of the times when even a release as stupendous as that was a major contender yet which narrowly missed out. The Adventures Of Mabel And Carter continues the high standards set by the debut and will doubtlessly have me agonising once more come November/December as to my favourites of 2022.
Scribed by: Reza Mills