www.michaelchapman.co.uk live reviews
Michael Chapman & Angie Palmer 4th July 2005 The White Hart Inn Acoustic Sussex
Michael had spent the earlier part of his day indulging one of his lifelong pleasures - steam trains - by taking a trip on the nearby Bluebell line. It was a good omen - I knew he would later have to play the wonderful 'Mallard' (about the fastest British steam train) and he did, of course.
Chapman has been a musical hero of mine for over 30 years - and he didn't disappoint at this packed White Hart gig. Playing a long set including a mix of vocal songs and instrumentals, I was reminded that there is truly no guitarist around who creates the kind of atmosphere that Chapman does. OK, his voice has changed over the years but it's still distinctive and it's somehow got added warmth. But really it's the quality and uniqueness of the guitarwork. The audience was simply enthralled.
His long (almost 2 hour) set included: the aforementioned 'Mallard'; the lively 'Sometimes'; the hypnotic 'That Time of Night'; 'Memphis in Winter'; 'One Time Thing' (a favourite of mine from his acclaimed 1969 Rainmaker album); 'Wrecked Again' (another oldie but goldie); his one and only 'hit', 'Postcards of Scarborough'; Soulful Lady whose lyric 'Fully Qualified Survivor' (titled his seminal 1970 album); the personal 'After all This Time'; 'Shuffle Boat River Farewell'; 'Rabbit Hills'; and four instrumentals: 'La Magrugada''; Caddo Lake; 'Uncle Jack'; and an extended version of 'Sentimelia', to finish the evening.
Support was provided by the excellent Angie Palmer, who Bob Harris recently described as "One of Britain's best current singer-songwriters".
Angie played mainly songs from her excellent recent CD, 'Home' ('Ballad of Love and Strife'; 'Coming Home'; 'Less Than I Need You'; and the wonderfully-named 'Down the Street of the Cat Who Fished'; Footprints in the Snow'). These she supplemented by an older song, 'A Long Way From Paris' (a place Angie refers to as her spiritual home); two new songs, 'Premonition Blues' and 'Rock, Salt and Nails'; and, as a finale, the bluesy Chip Taylor song, 'Papa Come Quick'. Something tells me we'll be hearing a lot more from this lady
After the gig, Michael joined us in the bar for a well-earned nightcap, and we all retired in that happy state that tells you the evening went well.
"Folk Singer" Michael Chapman at Botallack Counthouse was one of the first to perform at Lafrowda
Michael Chapman once again demonstrated his well-earnt reputation. After 25 or so albums and at 60 plus, this man still has the power to move his audience. An exceptionally talented acoustic guitarist, he has a distinctive percussive style of playing topped by his gravelly soulful voice. A friend thought he sounded like JJ Cale after his opening song Sometimes.
Appearing at the Arts Centre in St Austell on Saturday night, he made sure fans old and new were not disappointed. When he played Wrecked Again we wanted to get up out of our seats and dance. Then there was the beautiful, atmospheric Caddo Lake and Memphis In Winter.
Whatever song he plays he captures the mood. His ability is so intense you can lose yourself in his playing.
He finished with a wonderful cocktail medley of Looking For Charlie, It Ain't So and Sensimilia, and then came back again at the audience's demand to play the beautiful Soulful Lady.
South Petherton Arts Centre 15 July 2003
South Petherton is a Somerset village just off a roundabout on the A303 which is the main Devon-London A-road. The village has converted an old chapel to an arts centre which has the right mix of organisation and informality.
Just after 8pm Michael stepped onstage to no fanfare, and a small but enthusiastic audience of about 40. He played;
Guitar and voice fine as ever.
Anniversary is a very early one he forgot about for 30 years.......
Shuffleboat River Farewell written apparently on a ferry going from Hull to Lincolnshire. After All This Time inspired by being asked by a woman while browsing in Waterstones- "Is it Michael?" "Er, yes.........?" [no recognition at all] "We were married for four years...."
Rabbit Hills had a verse about the rabbit hills which got cut out......MC's last meeting with John Fahey ["...a wonderful, if bizarre, human being...."] ended in the early hours of the morning with him conversing with a naked Fahey who was wrapped only in a flag allegedly from the Nuremberg rallies...... Fahey collected operation scars and had the cost of the operation tattooed on the end of each scar....
Nice to hear No Song To Sing- I recall seeing Michael in 1995 above a pub in Harborne, Birmingham and someone requesting this one, getting the riposte "That's not a song, it's a memory test" - Michael apparently heard a cover of this and decided to nick it back......(Show Of Hands on 'Covers HMCD12 and its an excellent version mh).
La Madrugada, a "Spanish blues", was played with lots of reverb to get the effect of "a 14th century Italian church" [MC] and was indeed really quite beautiful, at the risk of sounding a right softy Southerner......
Nice 5 min chat with
Michael during the break while he was staffing the CD table. I last saw
him a couple of years back, at Milton Combe, just up the river from Plymouth,
at a tiny pub called (I kid you not) the Who'd Have Thought It, which
has a folk club. Apparently there had been a falling out cos he committed
the heresy of bringing a PA. No knowing how long it would take me
Guitarists may note that Michael only uses the thumb and index finger of his right hand,- he says that's all he can manage. He wishes he hadn't got into the habit of using thumb picks- he picked it up off Ralph McTell- you had to in the folk clubs, to get some volume.....
Does all right on it I'd have said.......
Ian Barnett ©
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