Yorkshire Folk legend Michael Chapman has been releasing albums since 1969 on fairly consistent basis, in terms of quality and quantity, barring the odd gap here and there. True North is his latest offering and the follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed album, 50. He is loved by the likes of Thurston Moore and Steve Gunn, the latter just happens to have produced and played guitar on this record. Other guests include fellow folk legend Bridget St. John and pedal steel player BJ Cole. LP and CD on Paradise of Bachelors.
Vinyl LP £19.49 POB044LP
Black vinyl LP on Paradise of Bachelors.
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CD £11.49 POB044CD
CD on Paradise of Bachelors. Comes in 6-panel gatefold package.
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Limited Vinyl LP £20.99 POB044LPC1
Limited Red wine coloured vinyl LP on Paradise of Bachelors.
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I could listen to Michael Chapman play guitar pretty much for the rest of my life. His Trainsong compilation is a must for all fans of rural folky guitar playing. His is a rolling style that is simpler than some of his compatriots but has a lovely haunting quality but Chapman has always been a polymath and some of his best known albums are in a more singer songwriter style.
For this album produced by young hot-shot Steve Gunn and featuring BJ Cole on pedal steel, Chapman is in full singer songwriter mode - a genre he always seems to approach tentatively. I'm sure even he would admit his voice isn't the greatest - age has made it even more grizzled than it was on his most famous album 1970s Fully Qualified Survivor. Here it barely changes register from a mid range slur. His lyrics too are somewhat clunky - just a slither away from being David Brent originals. So what is it that makes Chapman's music so affecting?
It's possibly because at nearly 80 Chapman is still penning original material and the songs are full of images of someone looking back over their life, coming up with moments of clear eyed reminiscence and mining small nuggets of regret. Like all the best artists Chapman puts himself deep into the music which creates music from the heart that on repeated listens gets to the heart of the listener - despite his limitations.
This is in no way Chapman's best album but it's a vital document of understanding the man and he remains an inspiration of how to remain creative and vital into advanced years .
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- True North by Michael Chapman
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