Back in 2009, the (already, then) prolific Andy Compton noted that Roy Ayers had released over 100 LPs in his time. “That’s a good goal,” he quipped.
He’s gettin’ there. Farmyard Flavours Vol 2 is a “new” Rurals release, with Andy revisiting the name which was a collective but is in the public mind strongly identified with Andy and vocalist Marie Tweek (the covers of Nettle Soul and especially A Rural Life made that all but inevitable). In reality, this is a lost album, picked up off the tiles from The Rurals’ “farm/countryside era” of 1995 to 2001.
Marie is on vocals for several of these tracks, alongside some of the original Rurals players. “Music Is My Life” is pure sex – lustrous vocals, colorful keys and a rolling sax. Like many of the tracks here, the percussion sounds slightly muffled – a legacy, most likely, of the 8 track and analogue era. This is probably heresy to some, but I prefer it. 95% of percussion on the soulful side of House sounds the same these days, mostly because it is the same – people working from an identical small toolbox of canned sounds and effects. Here the sounds kind of bleed together. I don’t know if you could get the same sound if you recreated “Forgotten Times” today – it’d be an interesting experiment if someone wanted to try it. “Warm” has been dragged out so many times as a term to contrast the analog sound vs. the in-the-box digital world (as Christian Urich pointed out in a 5 Mag interview awhile ago, literally everything is “electronic” music now) but there is something so close, so immediate, so enveloping about this. It’s even an aesthetic here: several of these songs feel rough around the edges, as perhaps being scheduled for release and going through the motions of the glacial pace of the vinyl market in 2000 would have lead to some polishing off. There’s a feeling of being allowed into the workshop.
Nostalgia and meta discussions aside, some great songs came out of The Rurals shed of lost and left behind creations.
The Rurals: Farmyard Flavours Volume 2 (Peng)
1. The Rurals: Music Is My Life (08:02)
2. The Rurals: Forgotten Times (05:24)
3. The Rurals: You Need It (07:31)
4. The Rurals: Weird Sax Song (06:43)
5. The Rurals: Tambo (06:34)
6. The Rurals: Saturate (07:23)
7. The Rurals: Fantasize (05:22)
8. The Rurals: It’ll Be Alright (Minnimig Version) (06:17)
9. The Rurals: The Happiness (Vocal Mix) (05:34)
10. The Rurals: Echoes In My Mind (05:13)