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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Phillip Hartley - Perfect Face for Radio?

Twenty-one tracks! It's a bumper CD. It's a bumper folk CD. I'm impressed.

I was expecting a songwriting CD from Phil, but in part this is a collection of favourite recordings from the last few years which includes a good deal of traditional lovelies, such as 'She Moved Through the Fair' (which I've been covering with Andy G) and 'Loch Lomond'. And one of my very favourite tunes 'The Lovely Joan'. (Although I think The Lovely Joan should be a silver fairground horse, not than a person.)

There's a good deal of synth action among the traditional interpretation, which reminded me a bit of the wonderful Rebsie Fairholm, in its mix of modern and older styles. Although Rebsie's production is more complex and involves a fuller, band sound.

Phil has a passionate affection for traditional music which is apparent in his voice. He has such a straightforward honest sounding delivery, which relishes the lines of the Olde Worlde.

Some of my favourites of Phil's self-penned numbers came in the second half of the album. 'Emily's Song' is so tender. I was soothed by the soft tone of his voice in this sweet observational piece. A poignant ditty this about a woman who wants a new life after her children have grown.

I enjoyed the phase effect on 'Perfect Face for Radio' which fused in a pop and psychedelic manner. This was a great good time song about getting older, and we need more of them for an ageing population. I think I like it best when Phil goes a bit more pop.

It made my heart give a little skip to see he's thanked some of my internet friends for their help and encouragement in the cover notes: Deborah Millstein, Dickie Millard and the folks at Scrub Radio.

I hope to see Phil perform in person sometime.

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