Happy Trails
AIN’T NO PRESENT LIKE THE TIME
Lopsided Records LRC106
*****


Each song is individually brilliant and performed in a style which is very much their own

This Kent-based outfit comprises Al Clark, Trevor Stephenson and Ian Balchin, a trio of extremely talented artists who have served up a humdinger of a main course which is tasty to gorge on.

I found myself enjoying each and every one of the fourteen songs, which is very rare to come across in new albums. The one which was enjoyed most by yours truly was Little Old Church by the Road. Sounding as though it’s taken from a long forgotten western, the duel harmonies on this are simply delightful. It is music like this which reminds you why you love country music. Just as good is Who Shot a Hole in my Sombrero. With a comical opening, it possesses a Cajun feel due to Chris Taylor’s accordion but it keeps true to its roots by including a style of picking and harmonica playing which is bona fide country.

Gigging frequently, I hope to catch this band live for the perfect sound they create is something which must be extremely awesome to see in the flesh. RH

Maverick Magazine – Jan 2011

Happy Trails...AINT NO PRESENT LIKE THE TIME
1. Your Mama ain't Wrong (Diane Craig)
2. Lone Star Swing (Stephanie Davis)
3. It's Mighty Nice to Meet Ya (The Hackensaw Boys)
4. Leavin' Alabama (Diane Craig)
5. I Hear Them All (Secor / Williams)
6. Gonna be Good News When I Die (C.Sizemore / M. Despain)
7. Over The Trail (Elton Britt / Fraley)
8. Play Your Troubles Away (Tom Peloso)
9. Hambone (Al. Clark)
10. Little Old Church by The Road (C. Sizemore / Jaymore)
11. Ride On (Jimmy McCarthy)
12. Who Shot a Hole in my Sombrero (Leeds / Hayes)
13. Devil on The Plough (Charlie Sizemore)
14. Quality Shoes (Mark Knopfler)

 

Happy Trails CD01 Happy Trails
White Sands

*****
The ultimate in feel-good southern twang
For those that have yet to discover Happy Trails, they are a Kent-based trio whose energetic blend of country reflects their passion for the music of the American South. Al Clarke, Trevor Stephenson and Ian Balchin have been playing in an assortment of Cajun, zydeco and blues bands for 20 years, and now are regular performers in venues across their home county, including the annual Broadstairs Folk Week.
In this their third album, Happy Trails have served up 13 storming performances that are sure to win them new fans right across the country.
There is quite simply not a bad track on this album, but highlights include an energetic rendition of That’s What I Like About the South, first recorded by Bob Wills in the 1940s, and an evocative take on Stephanie Davis’s Diamond O.
The trio also manage to make a couple of light-hearted favourites their own. Dry Town, a whimsical lament about the search for a cold beer on a hot, hot day, is delivered with humour and style. Chris Wall’s Something to Shoot – about every cowboy’s number one love – also packs a punch, with great deadpan lines about killing elks with a hand grenade and then, when they’re all gone, starting on the Yankees.
The trio also do justice to covers of Wagon Wheel and the Dixie Chicks’ Goodbye Earl, though the latter perhaps lacks the feisty spirit of the original.
But the album includes some of their own material, and one of the real gems is Clarke’s Lucky Day. The tale of outlaws Joseph and Loretta rollicks along at a cracking pace; they’ve got no money and another baby on the way, so what choice do they have but to rob banks? ‘Stayed in bed all week, making love and talking about how we’d spend the money, who says crime doesn’t pay?’ says Joe. The exhilarating conclusion sees the pair busted by the police and running for the hills, praying for another lucky day. This is a song I could put on replay and sing along to until my neighbours take out an injunction.
All in all, then, an irresistible collection, and one that should win these guys the far higher profile they deserve. MAVERICK MAGAZINE - SEPT 2008
Happy Trails... White Sands
1. Thats What I Like About The South (Bob Wills)
2. She Don't Care About Me (Bruce Robson)
3. Diamond 0 (Stephanie Davis)
4. Dry Town (G. Welch & D. Rawlings)
5. Something to Shoot (Chris Wall)
6. Shes Supposed to be Mine (Al. Clarke)
7. Wagon Wheel (R. Zimmerman)
8. No Worries (Mike West)
9. Goodbye Earl (Dixie Chicks)
10. Lucky Day (Al. Clarke)
11. Santa Fe (Ian Balchin)
12. Green Grass (Al Clarke)
13. Memphis, Texas (Chip Taylor)
Happy Trails CD01
Happy Trails CD02
Happy Trails CD 1
Happy Trails CD 2
1. The man who could fall backwards (M.West) 1. Love gets in the way (Al Clark)
2. A little country (M.West) 2. Clyde (J.J. Cale)
3. Big rock candy mountain (Trad.) 3. Talk to me (Al Clark)
4. Annabelle (G.Welch) 4. Girls (Ian Balchin)
5. Tennessee wig walk (Trad.) 5. Les debris (Phil Lee)
6. Peteluma (N.Greenbaum) 6. Elise (Mike West)
7. Father of all waters (I.Baichin) 7. Pretty senorita (Al Clark)
8. Kentucky moon (B.Hally) 8. I've been to georgia (C. Cody)
9. Old Joe Clark (Trad.) 9. Whatever it takes (Happy Trails)
10. Red clay halo (G.Welch) 10. I wish I had a dollar (Ian Balchin,Happy Trails)
11. Man of consistant sorrow (Trad.) 11. Pancho's lament (Tom Waits)
12. Cow cow yiki (H.Ledbetter) 12. Secret sign (Al Clark)
13. Home town blues (S.Earle) 13. Pennies from heaven (J. Burke & A. Johnston)
14. Over the river (G.Gritzbach)    
15. Happy trails (D.Evans)