The Skiffle Players’ second LP ‘Skiff’ signals a new direction. Whereas their debut LP, ‘Skifflin,’ and its companion release, ‘Piffle Sayers EP,’ focused primarily on traditional songs, this time around they all sing and write. It further brings into focus that this is a band where there is NO LEADER, but a collective effort where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
“This record takes things up a notch for The Skiffle Players, expanding upon the topography of our first record, while using the ‘Piffle Sayers EP’ as a stepping stone to leap to new heights, song styles, thematic content and writers,” says Farmer Dave. “Neal Casal and myself contribute songs to the group for the first time, and Cass is back with some amazing new tunes. It’s a float down the river of song—an attitude, a way of life, an offering.”
Recorded at Infinitespin Recorders in Van Nuys CA, with engineer Matt “Linny” Linesch, ‘Skiff’ begins with a bold opening; the Farmer Dave penned “Cara,” delivers heavy information for the soul. Then, into classic Cass insanity on the LP’s first single “Local Boy,” which alludes to a wild ride on the run from the cops (listen/share). Third is a touching tribute to a bygone companion, “Miss It When It’s Gone,” written and led by Neal. ‘Skiff’s revolving perspective continues to bounce around, leaving no apparent land to stand upon. In that, it is deeply subversive. For there is nothing to defend, but the ability to transform and imagine.
Next, it’s back to Cass with a satire on justice, “The Law Offices of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe.” The album continues to unfold from the saloon “Long Horns, Long Necks, Long Legs” to the rainforest “Herbamera.” Neal blasts in again taking lead vocals on the Cass-penned sun-bleached rambler, “Los Angeles Alleyway.” Farmer Dave’s “Skiffleman” “sings a song for everyone.” Cass plays with memory in a song about coming of age in the Bay Area entitled “Oakland Scottish Rite Temple Waltz.” Penultimately, “Santa Fe” offers an elliptical broadside about materialism and waste. ‘Skiff’ concludes by pushing off again, out into the familiar waters of a traditional skiffle number, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” each member taking a perhaps all-too casual solo.
This is acoustic dance music at its finest. It is also refreshingly contradictory. Irreverent and mystical. Deeply personal and communal. Traditional and profane. This is the ever-revolving and disintegrating ship known as ‘Skiff.’