DAISY CHAPMAN – Good Luck Songs (Folkwit SW89)

Good Luck SongsGood Luck Songs is Daisy Chapman’s third studio album; her first for five years. There was a live set a couple of years ago but Daisy is hardly what you’d call prolific. However, what she lacks in quantity she more than makes up for in quality.

The opener and title track sneaks up on you nicely, just piano and voice and a great first line, “Sought a mantra to bring me luck”. The song builds up to a climax then drops away to nothing before building up through a choral coda to a second big finish. After that you can’t help wanting to hear what comes next. You won’t find anything as common as a guitar on Good Luck Songs. Daisy’s instrument is piano and virtually everything else is strings. OK, there’s an oboe, a trombone and a saxophone plus percussion on some tracks but most of what you hear is violin, cello and double bass. And some exceptional piano playing and a voice that should provide a model for any aspiring singer.

I should say that Daisy is also a fine song-writer. My favourite tracks are those where her tongue approaches her cheek. She leads us right up the garden path up with ‘Generation Next’, beginning with a travelogue that suggests she’s writing about California only to reveal that her subject is her native Bristol. Of course, we also have the irony that the young Daisy is casting herself as generation last, but it’s such a witty song. ‘I Used To Own An Empire’ boasts an equally clever lyric as Daisy dissects the state of the nation.

She takes another tack with ‘Idilia Dubb’, the story of a young Scottish girl who supposedly starved to death in a German castle in the 19th century. Is it a true story? Is it a myth? Daisy presents it as fact although even Wikipedia has its doubts! Finally, she gives us ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’, not very removed from Tom Waits’ original and that makes me very happy. This is a very fine album.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: http://www.daisychapman.com/

‘Good Luck Song’ – the official video: