It has to be said we here at #TEAMw21 are suckers for a good old fashioned story song and "Earl" certainly fits the bill. Set to a tune of banjo, piano and drum we have a tale of 19th century injustice and the instrumentation certainly does its job of evoking the cotton fields of the Southern states and Adele's vocals carry the right amount of sombreness for telling the tale of such a miscarriage of justice
With an emotionally charged cover, on first listen it brings back memories of TV shows such as Roots and is full of drama with rape, incarceration and pardons coming just too late and everyone eventually agreeing that Earl was a thoroughly good chap albeit now deceased. The wicked lady at the centre of the tune is sent away and everything is sort of wrapped up nicely noting that the system was flawed.
Perhaps it is best just to accept it at face value and enjoy it for what it is, as I'm not 100% sure that the lyrics totally stand up to scrutiny, Earl would more likely have been lynched without any trial for the crime he was accused of but that wouldn't have made for such an entertaining song.
Adele & Andy do seem to love a rich bit of storytelling and although we have some slight misgivings about "Earl" it certainly intrigued us enough to send us scurrying back to hear their earlier single this year "As Much As I Miss You". Once again there is a powerful image on the accompanying cover and this song is certainly rich in detail. Although the cover portrays fairly modern looking military, the lyrics are somewhat timeless and could easily reflect conflicts of an earlier era.
Set to a simple but effective guitar refrain and including a drum sound that normally would send us running to the hills, yet somehow it perfectly fits this track, this is something of a novella played out within the confines of a four minute tune.
Dramatic from the very opening, we are greeted much as the Mother is by the sight of a boy preparing to sign up and go to war.
"His Mama she cried as she opened the door
She felt unprepared though she'd been there before
It's all he ever wanted to do
Him and his Daddy too"
Adele & Andy weave a lot into the narrative the Father has already died when the boy was younger and being a soldier "Was all he ever wanted to do."
It's an emotional roller coaster that passed us by at the time and was certainly well worth revisiting. To reveal all that happens would spoil the fun for the listener but safe to say it is worth the journey, the story is nicely tied up and the whole thing is capped off with a rather superior chorus with Adele's charming vocals.
Both tracks will feature on their forthcoming EP, and it will be interesting to see which subjects Adele & Andy choose to take on next.