Jeff Kelly’s latest solo album was written about his travels through Spain and Portugal in 2017 and 2018 which is something this reviewer has also done, but rather than going in spring like Jeff did I went in October and found this album does a good job of evoking those feeling and would sound perfect if listened to on headphones while sitting on the train from Gran Via in Madrid out to the Monastery at El Escorial, but that sort of specificity would rather limit Jeff’s listenership and this album by The Green Pajamas main man deserves to be heard by a far wider audience than that might suggest and it’s hints of Fado and Flamenco should help it to get one.
The Initial Kiss is the sound of sitting in a bar high above the River Douro, but with a view of the river so you can see across to the Port Lodges while you try to seduce a beautiful woman and eventually half the bar join in on the final chorus as you get that Initial Kiss that deserves a real serenade.
The River Rain feels like fine drizzle on The Douro pattering on the quayside. If Only is the morning after hangover song as you down endless Espresso’s in a bar with a view of Igreja Dos Clerigos while you try to recall what happened last night.
Juliana Of the One-Man-Scanner Station is a true story about the woman who mans the ramparts in Antequera by the border and unlike at some borders no one has put up any walls and this border is manned by this solitary woman which makes this song rather poignant in the current climate and the fully electric sound on this song really brings home how wonderful it is to bring down barriers and borders where possible. This song deserves to have a cool video to go with it and to get plenty of radio play as this would be my choice as a single.
Senor, Senor feels like he’s taking to an old guy in a bar in El Rastro that’s near the top of the hill while the band sound like they want to be playing in El Sol late into the night as they sound like Crazy Horse meets Australian Blonde (the Spanish Indie group). Todo Por La Gitana has the feel of Leonard Cohen listening to a gypsy band playing in the square outside El Escorial Monastery and it’s full of Mystery.
Hush of the Southern Night is a quiet float downstream with a glass of port and some cheese for company all the while as Jeff actually sings about drinking Cervezas as this has a very romantic feel to it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen The Moon Over Grenada but that moonglow on the whitewashed buildings is as beguiling as this song is a gentle evocation of that magical feeling of watching that moon.
The Lisbon Vampire is a steamy slow vampire judging by this slowly unfolding story song he is a gentle and non-scary vampire. My Lily sounds like your sitting outside a bar in Foz where you can see the moon meet the sea and the River Douro even if the guitar reminds me more of the buskers in the streets around the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
Douro River Wind reminds me of the walk from Foz in towards Ribeira along the banks of the Douro looking across the river to the Port Lodges and eventually the Pont De Luis comes into view as a tram rolls by and the wind blows by, this is a very evocative song for anyone who has ever been to the River Douro.
Kiss the Moon Hello while you drink warm red wine in Plaza del Carmen in Madrid while you watch the action take place before you. The River Rain 2 is a nice redolent coda.
Alleys Of Madrid is for me about getting lost searching for that elusive record shop or trying to find El sol to go to a gig there and as you wander round stopping for some Jamon or Patatas Bravas and some sherry making this song a gentle accompaniment to getting lost around El Rastro or Chueca that are both easy places to leave your hearts.
To find out more about this very cool album go to www.greenmonkeyrecords.com/artist-jeff-kelly www.thegreenpajamas.net