117. People – Hothouse Flowers
I will admit from the outset that I actually know very little about Hothouse Flowers outside of the fact that I pretty much love anything and everything I have ever heard from them. The greatest love I have for this band is encapsulated in this wonderfully Gospel, funky, bluesy, Celtic, and unflinchingly stirring hoe down. Dammit, it just flat out infectious.
Birthed in Ireland I first heard about them from an interview with Bono, who was admittedly a huge fan of the band. Their first single was released in 1986 by U2’s own label. That lead to a mainstream record deal. They went on to have the best selling debut album in Ireland with people. I still here songs from this album used in bumper music, in fact talk show host Laura Ingraham is a huge fan and uses their music all the time on her radio program.
The album is filled with deeply personal and spiritual content delivered in a uniquely creative musical narrative that is immediately likable and never grows weary. Lead vocals are bluesy, soulful and utterly heartfelt. There’s a slight slur to the inflection that gives the Irish whiskey drawl to the approach.
There are so many unforgettable songs here including the opening track “I’m Sorry.” The humor infused into the song of apology is just brilliant. Great Gospel backing vocals accentuate the funky soul of the arrangement. “It’ll Be Easier in the Morning” sounds closer to Van Morrison meets Joe Cocker. Great vocals and a passionate band performance.
A personal favorite is “Hallelujah Jordan,” a rollicking story song that builds into a funk groove that can made a dead man nod along. The arrangement is so smart and enjoyable that it continues to be infectious well after it fades.
Speaking of instrumentation, the album is loaded with traditional Celtic instruments combined with modern instruments and the melding of the two work perfectly. The saxophone solo on “If You Go” is simply ridiculous!
Even as I type this I am starting to think this album deserves to be ranked higher! Please do yourself a favor and just get a copy.