MARK CHADWICK – Moment (On The Fiddle OTFCD020)

MomentMark Chadwick’s second solo album won’t disappoint fans but it may surprise one or two. It’s simple, direct and confessional and I enjoyed it from the off.

The sound is pared-down a little, based on acoustic guitar with Tom White’s piano and Ben Paley’s fiddle over the engine room of Graeme Ross and Alex White on double bass and drums. At first hearing I thought that ‘Christian And Pam’ was the key song. It’s the story of two, what shall we say, less privileged members of our society in a long-standing but rickety relationship that you just know isn’t going to end well. The last verse describes Christian being taken away in an ambulance covered in blood ‘the way Pam knew he would’. Mark describes the album as “an honest look at drink, life and love”. Nowhere will you read that he is an alcoholic but his relationship with the booze is a troubled one. ‘Waterfall’ is almost a song of praise for the drink, albeit a bitter one – ‘drinking makes the man, watch him crawl, watch him crawl’ – while ‘Bullet’ and ‘Killing Time’ are stories seemingly seen through a haze – you can put your own interpretation on them and I’m still working on mine.

‘Air’ is musically the most complex song with piano and fiddle heading into jazz territory while the closing ‘Last Night’ relates the insomniac’s early morning reflections on the night before. Some of these words are set to good, stomping tunes and I can hear the choruses of ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Bullet’ ringing out across a festival field from voices that haven’t fully understood what it is they’re singing. The duality of the music is reflected in the cover but that’s as much an illustration of the duality of human nature, particularly when the demons are released.

Not only is this a good album to listen to on the superficial level – you’ll find yourself singing along – but it also makes some difficult points in a readily accessible way.

Dai Jeffries

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Artists’ website: http://www.levellers.co.uk/

‘Red Sky’, taken from the album, was Mark’s Record Store Day single:

Ralph McTell – Red Sky

Ralph McTell Red SkyThe wind whips and moves the stale air from those who only remember “Streets of London” as “Red Sky” dawns into a fresh collection of 19 new songs.

Here are a few examples to whet your appetite: “Up” a strong song with a catchy chorus, steady pace and meandering guitar solo – “Dreamtime” a soft timeless ballad – “Wagon on the Motorway”, a reflective travelling song – “Bicker and Rue”, Dylanesque in delivery with lyrics that most people will relate to – “Lost Boys” an upbeat number with a feisty fiddle piece which contrasts beautifully with the slower ballads of “Now This Has Started” and “Easter Lilies” – “Icarus Survived”, a calypso structured lighthearted look at attitude – “Raining in My Heart” fits well with the slower mellow Delta Blues of “When Love Has Gone” – The lyrical excellence of “Let Me Fly or Let Me Fall” and the nostalgic flashback of “Fin” – All reinforce why Ralph Mctell is one of the finest exports of the UK.

Original Posting date – 1-June-2001

Reviewers Name – The folkmaster – folkmaster@folking.com

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Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us. Can’t find what you are looking for? Search Amazon Store below.