ALAN REID and ROB VAN SANTE – The Adventures Of John Paul Jones (Red Sands Music RSCD003)

No…not that John Paul Jones…the harmonica playing bluesman (!) but this one is, in nautical terms at least a legend none the less. His omnipresent personality was later to become established as ‘The Father Of The American Navy’ and although an exalted position, how did this gardener’s son from Scotland (a bit like Peter Sellers character Chauncey Gardiner in ‘Being There’ perhaps?) gain such an enviable and at times despised reputation? Well, that dear reader is established from this historical though not over scholarly document that was obviously a labour of love for Reid. To write a whole album’s worth (15 tracks) of material collaboratively with Rob Van Sante joined by various guest musicians based on one character might be regarded as a vanity project but I assure you, if you come along for the ride you’ll be justly rewarded. Much like Vladimir Cosma’s evocative musical score for the 1978 TV series “Kidnapped” Reid weaves an almost magical spell conjuring visions of brooding Scottish vista’s whilst just as easily slipping into a sense of joviality on the track “Landlord” and in my own way (envisaging film clips) I latch onto certain aspects of the storylines to propel the action forward. I can’t think of any better way to capture the mood of the piece other than by utilising predominantly ‘acoustic’ instrumentation including guitar, mandolin, viola, banjo, cello but could I be controversial in suggesting the lads put the lyrics on a page on their website along with a few background notes. I’ve always believed in the use of ‘folk opera’ such as Fairport’s “Babbacombe Lee” and Elecampagne’s “Adventures Of Mr Punch” to tutor the general public without being too heavy handed and if this recording is anything to go by it will sit very comfortably within that genre.

PETE FYFE


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