GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – Gilbertville (Hypertension HYP 11275)

I don’t know why but I suppose you could call me a Sunday afternoon kind of person. Perhaps it’s due to my nature of relaxing listening to the likes of Aled Jones, Steve Wright or Terry Wogan on the radio. Those of a certain age will I’m sure know that same feeling and perhaps those not too precious to own up to it will also include a liking for the songs of Gilbert O’Sullivan. If so, I count myself amongst you. OK, so not strictly ‘folk’ in the true sense of the word but 1970 was a turning point for me as it was this year that first made me listen properly to the lyrics of a song and “Nothing Rhymed” was that particular song. It’s composer O’Sullivan made a great impact and from then on I purchased (more or less) everything he recorded. Having recently caught up with him via the early morning TV chat shows I picked-up on the fact he had recorded a new album so instinctively obtained a copy…and boy, am I pleased I did. Good contemporary songriters are rare to find in as much that they run the gammut of emotions and, by way of a bonus, as a musician they can take you from a solid waltz, (and on this occasion) to the blues and even a bit of Cajun for good measure. From gentle love ballads such as “Here’s Why” to a song about the inevitable deaths of the passangers and the anguish conveyed to their loved ones by mobile phones from the planes heading for the twin towers on the song “All They Wanted To Say” this really is writing of the highest calibre. Gilbert could of course have made this composition mawkish but in buoying the song in a tune that is almost at odds with the subject matter he makes things a more than pallatable work of art. This is the kind of performer that can just as easily switch from providing melancholy moods to a study in humour with that quintessential British brass band backing (think Peter Skellern) on “Where Would We Be (Without Tea)” and if you hadn’t guessed it already I’m a fan and I’d certainly suggest that you try this album if you were in any doubts he is a ‘folk’ musician at heart.


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