Sweet Baboo - King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Tue 7 May 2013
Charming set combines lyrical originality with self-deprecating humour
‘I go dancing and chancing my luck with all those girls - that’s why I’m bound for hell’, sings Stephen Black, aka Welshman Sweet Baboo, on catchy 2010 single ‘I’m a Dancer’. To look at this freckly face, rabbit-in-the-headlights expression and guitar worn high over a stripy t-shirt, you might assume this line was sung with tongue firmly in apple-cheek. But let him sing you his song about why he really, really wants his girlfriend (she’s the one with the cash) to buy them a motorhome, and you might just re-assess his seductive powers.
Mostly, Black’s songs paint him as the soppy, lovelorn fool, issuing quirky declarations of love, his warm, folky voice cracking as desperation creeps in amid the self-deprecating humour. Let’s not feel too sorry for him though - Black is a very accomplished guitar player, with a lightness of touch on the strings that matches that of his lyrics. Four albums and years of touring are evident in the tightness of the band (completed by bass and drums), and this and the lyrical originality help to ward off any tendency toward repetitiveness that might otherwise have existed in this charming set.