From both the album title and the overtly pandering cover art, it would be all too easy to dismiss Raw Love Songs as cheeseball balladry with nary a second thought, but upon learning of Conny Ochs’ support slot with the legendary Wino of Saint Vitus fame, all preconceptions are up in the air. Instead, what we have is honest, impassioned balladry that speaks more of the American heartland than his native Deutschland.
Opening with the a cappella Stampede Stampede, Ochs’ voice is immediately recognisable as one of those special few that can cut through the cynicism of even the most stony-hearted of listeners without appearing embarrassingly glib, a sentiment backed up by his unassuming guitar and banjo work throughout the remainder of the album. Unfortunately, it’s all too brief but the sublime quality of every minute of this work goes way beyond compensating for its brevity. [David Bowes]