Picks and Pans Review: Snakes and Ladders
Rafferty makes some of today's most finely crafted, mature and satisfying music. Working with pop, rock, folk and blues forms, he fuses a glittering prettiness with a raw, powerful sound—epitomized in this album's best cuts, I Was a Boy Scout and Johnny's Song. He accomplishes all this by floating his solemn voice above rich, rocking chords, while his backup players drive with uncommon vibrancy and tastefulness. Raphael Ravenscroft's sax on the slow blues Bring It All Home, Bryn Haworth's ringing slide guitar on I Was a Boy Scout and Jerry Donahue's delicate guitar work throughout the jaunty Didn't I are especially noteworthy here. All 12 cuts on this album are strong, though. Rafferty is a perfectionist who obviously derives pleasure from creating honest, superbly produced music. On Boy Scout, he sings, "I was goin' into something that was feelin' good/It was somethin' I could understand." This album, like City to City and Night Owl before it, proves Rafferty isn't just playing games with his audience.
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