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- The Magic Bridge by Richard Dawson
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Richard Dawson is said to be a bit of a legend in his home town of Newcastle, and he certainly seems to be revered by our office Business Lady, so it’s of great interest to me what this mere human has been doing to warrant such adulation. At first glance it doesn’t seem too remarkable. He’s playing guitar with his guitar and singing with his face, but the way he does it, and the timelessly lo-fi-but-detailed recording are sending me into some sort of robot trance.
Sometimes he’s just playing guitar and it’s reminding me of ex-Sun City Girl R-Bish’s recent endeavours with the six-string, particularly on the warmly melodic and crushingly human bit of nimble-fingered alchemy that is ‘The Bamburgh Beast’ and the delicate opener ‘Juniper Berries Float Down The Stream’, but most of the time he’s singing full-throated, stumbling songs accompanied by his evocative, unshowy fingerpicking, but there’s an almost clumsy physicality to things that never lets you forget you’re listening to the unmistakeable warble and chunter of a lone human. There’s something about his compositions that sounds timeless in a sort-of plainsongish kind of way like Lungfish or even Alexander Tucker.
When he turns his hand to proper balladeering like in ‘We Picked Apples In A Graveyard Freshly Mowed’ the results are sparse and magically affecting, dragging the listener through the emotional mire with him until his tattered spirit is imprinted on theirs, but there’s always a playful self-deprecating humanity at work with deliberately clumsy passages and carefully placed “wrong” notes, combining the freewheeling lo-fidelity bluesy picking with something that’s distinct, personal and carefully refined into pure, soulful expression. It’s a wondrous thing and my robot heart is full to burst from it.
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