Tugbit Magazine – Manchester, Massachusetts
There are few if any CDs dedicated to tugboating music so when I read of this album, I hastened to dial the indicated telephone number. My call was answered by Lorne Jones himself. I’ve misplaced my notes but I seem to remember that he was skippering Gowlland Towing’s 1,000-hp tug GULF REGENT with a tow of 64 sections of logs and it was nearing Vancouver. Yep, he knows tugs! I soon learned that he had spent 25 years in the music business before returning to tugs. His son Dan is a certified recording engineer as well as a tug mate and they have a recording studio at Campbell River, halfway up the eastern shore of Vancouver Island. Lorne agreed to send a copy of their CD, which has been selling well locally. Of the first play, it was obvious that Lorne’s musical career was in country and western music! It was also obvious that there are some very competent musicians in Vancouver Island’s Campbell River region – the arrangements and solos are imaginative, some ruffs and licks are truly luscious, the singing is first-rate C & W, and Lorne writes a mean song. All ten songs were written by him (with assistance on one) and there is also one strictly instrumental piece called “Tugboat Breakdown.” All the tunes are about tugboating, with only a few clues indicating that he is singing about British Columbia tugboating. But songs like “When It Blows It Sucks,” “Shit Happens,” “Hours of Boredom” )”... and the towlines goes and breaks – again!”) cover common territory familiar to anybody that ever towed a barge. “Get Ready Debbie” tells of his urgent yearnings to get back to his wife Debbie, while “Can’t Let Go” or “Running Light (with a heavy heart in me”) tells of the despair that sometimes strikes those who become afflicted by contact with the other sex.
I’m no expert but I can detect traces of several C &^W styles, even a touch of Cajun maybe? No matter. The variety adds to the freshness of each cut. This is a CD that wears well. I can imagine going on duty and slipping this CD into the wheelhouse player and settling back to listen to old friends. I have come to treasure my copy! HW