We at Bluesbunny have always had time for the singer-songwriter, and in James Yorkston, Scotland boasts one of the most captivating artists in recent years. But is "Roaring the Gospel" a true reflection of his ability?
Yorkston's music is largely multi-faceted. As such, don't be surprised to find yourself playing the album over and over, picking up on little things you wouldn't listen for on other albums. Yorkston's plain-as-stone vocals are brought to life by the stirring depth of his lyrics. "A Man with My Skills" is, on first hearing, a welcoming, reflective track, relating to love gone by. Then you hear "friends are telling me she's been around the houses", and it's an entirely different song. Yorkston's simple voice wouldn't suggest that. All part of his appeal and his delivery of "Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk" would stir even the most lifeless soul.
As with any minimalist album, certain tracks, though well-meant, can be ever so slightly uninteresting. At five seconds from 10 minutes long, "The Lang Toun" - not without its charm - is never going to hold down the listener's attention.
This collection of rarities sounds rough around the edges at times, and lacks the flow of a proper studio album. That should take nothing away from the tangible qualities Yorkston possesses. Perhaps this is not the best introduction to Yorkston's music, but for fans, it's essential.