Gary O’Dea’s COSMIC SOULS Album Review

So dear readers, I know it’s been a hard day!

Your boss is a complete and utter bastard who has used you as his private subservient lackey bitch all week!

Price and fuel prices are rising rapidly and depleting your disposable income.

The clocks have gone backward losing you an hours daylight and plunging you into a downward spiral of seasonal affective disorder.

It’s cold and dark outside and the pubs that are still open are emptier than a fund-raiser held by a Jimmy Saville estate funded charity.

David Cameron is telling you that “We’re all in this together!” but you’re not so gullible to believe his fabricated lies as senior executives in the UK’s biggest companies see their average earnings go up by more than a quarter in the past year.

You’re exhausted and wondering if its all really worth it!

Dear reader, close the curtains, turn off the TV and it’s indulgence in celebrity culture, unplug the telephone, switch off your mobile phone and it’s irritating ring-tone, pour yourself a large glass of Bourbon, take off your shoes and pull your chair closer to the open fire…

…drop the needle onto the vinyl and immerse yourself in Gary O’Dea’s new album “Looking Forward By Thinking Back“, recorded with his erstwhile bohemian troubadours, the Cosmic Souls.

Lean back, close your heavy eyelids, relax and let wave after wave of unrelenting warmth sweep over you, soothing your troubled brow, raising your spirits, and for a short while transporting you to a world inhabited by George Clooney, to a landscape and time portrayed in the motion picture ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’.


Gary O'Dea's Cosmic Souls

Gary O’Dea’s Cosmic Souls


Looking forward by thinking back

Looking Forward By Thinking Back‘ is a reworking of some of Gary O’Dea’s vast back catalogue of material, and it is a delight to listen to these new arrangements, lovingly re-moulded and re-worked, utilising a contemporary assembly of minstrels to re-envisage his songs.

Listening to the this album you can envisage Gary’s record collection to consist of albums by Slim Chance, Van Morrison, Martin Stephenson, and maybe some of the classic bluegrass musicians of yesteryear. Vinyl masterpieces all enclosed in faded dog-eared sleeves, stored on a plywood shelf buckling under the sheer weight of these volumes… and of course you would be right!

But, what this collection does not noticeably betray, is Gary’s love of punk rock bands like the Clash, The Jam and The New York Dolls… except in it’s attitude… and in Gary’s attitude. Gary is a stubborn old bastard with the old ‘If no-one will help me, I’ll do it me fuckin’ self‘ punk attitude, who given the slightest opportunity, will argue that black is white, if he believes it himself… and will continue to loquaciously argue the case long after he has convinced you.


Gary O'Dea's Cosmic Souls - Buddy Can You Spare A Dime

Gary O’Dea’s Cosmic Souls – Buddy Can You Spare A Dime


So what’s on the record?

I am not going to provide a track by track review – I’ll leave that to someone more experienced than myself… and if I did, would you really want to read it?.

What I can say is this is a lovely, warm record that enthuses a belief and confidence in the quality of the songs, and the mastery of the musicians.

I have heard several of these songs in various guises over the years, sometimes with a full band, other times stripped back to the bare bones with just Gary on guitar… but I can’t remember hearing them in quite such a delightful way as compiled together for this collection, and as transposed by this group of musicians.

Each song compliments the one before it, and the one after it… each one nurtured by O’Dea’s soothing love for the composition.

This review may appear to be a bit of a love in, but I have to admit that I am really pleasantly surprised by how good this album is.

It would be hard to name my favourites from this body of work but I will give an extra special nod to ‘Out of the Blue‘, ‘Little Miss Fortune‘, ‘Slowdown‘, ‘You Oughta Burn‘, ‘Way Back Home‘… and possibly my favourite, well at this moment in time at least, ‘My Sweet Rita‘ due to the extra layer of texture provided by Ellie Rushberry’s backing vocals.

For all you young guns out there, all you young dudes with your sexy haircuts, the nearest modern band I can compare these songs to is someone like Mumford and Sons. Have a listen. You’ll enjoy it… believe me… keep the faith… keep the home fires burning…


Gary O'Dea's Cosmic Souls - Booted and Suited

Gary O’Dea’s Cosmic Souls – Booted and Suited


The minstrels:

Gary O’Dea:
Lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica and percussion
Ian Rushberry:
Bass guitars, double bass, ukulele, percussion, backing vocals and jug
S.J. Downes:
Acoustic, slide, pedal and lap steel guitars and backing vocals
Paul Miller:
Viola and backing vocals
Gary O'Dea

Gary O’Dea

Ian Rushberry

Ian Rushberry

S. J. Downes

S. J. Downes

Paul Miller

Paul Miller


The album

So, don’t take my word for it. Click on the links below to listen to the grooves… and if you like a track why not buy it, or go really mad and buy the full album. 14 tracks and over an hours worth of aural pleasure. Go on, you know you want to!


Special thanks to:

David Tucker at the original sin for photography

For more information:

Visit Gary O’Dea’s website at Gojo Music

Looking Forward By Thinking Back - Front Cover

Looking Forward By Thinking Back – Front Cover

Looking Forward By Thinking Back - Back Cover

Looking Forward By Thinking Back – Back Cover

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