Jo Carley & The Old Dry Skulls

On Saturday we were delighted to welcome back our old friends Jo Carley and the Old Dry Skulls, bringing their characteristic brand of Voodoo enchantment to a sell-out crowd at the Brecon Muse.

Fueled by some delicious food from Tiny Booth, and introduced with characteristic flair by the club compere Mr Paul Keddle, Jo and the band took to the stage and immediately launched into a succession of irresistibly rhythmic and catchy numbers – performed with great flair and skill.

Jo Carley & The Old Dry Skulls

So we were regaled with blood-curdling tales of zombies, witch doctors, demonic possession and deals with the devil… all performed with a tremendous sense of fun, a tongue-in-cheek Vaudeville irony, and expert musicianship.

Jo Carley

“I got rhythms that will shake your soul” sang Jo – and they surely did, as together they concocted a potent potion of New Orleans zombie blues, skiffle and jazz… with occasional forays into calypso, Latin and old-time country styles.

Tim Carley

Jo Carley is captivating as a front-woman, combining macabre storytelling with a wonderfully expressive singing voice. Tim Carley on guitar and foot-stomping percussion expertly propelled the band’s rhythmic style, whilst James Le Huray provided a rock-solid fingerboard-slapping double bass accompaniment, at times making use of the bow to summon up some up eerily human-sounding moans from his instrument.

James Le Huray

Jo’s expert washboard playing created just the right kind of percussive accompaniment to many of the songs – and when she switched to mandolin for a couple of numbers this helped the band to venture into a more melodic, raunchy rock & roll groove.

Jo Carley

The sell-out audience had traveled from far and wide, from Wales and beyond – and they showed their enthusiastic appreciation with some admirably stylish dancing. Plenty of bones were shaken, and the audience left happy – not quite dead yet – but perhaps ready to lie down.

As ever, many thanks to all at the Muse for hosting this gig, to everyone in the team who were involved in making it happen, and especially to everyone in the audience for making the effort to be there and creating such a wonderfully enthusiastic atmosphere.

Photos by Barry Hill
Review by Jim Kerslake

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