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GEF LUCENA - For Love Is Lord Of All

GEF LUCENA - For Love Is Lord Of All
Saydisc Records CDSDL439

By his own admission Gef Lucena states: “Whether you stayed the course or just dipped in...” which in many ways says it all. This is an ambitious double CD that, in my view would have benefitted from severe editing. Thirty six love songs, given similar treatment from one song to the next, become a marathon of endurance. Gef’s lugubrious and at times, melancholic singing style, accompanied by mandolin and bouzouki, does not help the overall impression. If you are prepared to dig deep there are some truly beautiful melodies within the collection, all the more reason to have been much more selective and discriminating during the initial selection process.

The old adage ‘less is more’ would certainly have been of great benefit. That said, one has to question the motivation behind the collection. Gef Lucena began singing many years ago, back in the halcyon days of the early 60s folk revival and this assortment of songs represents virtually a lifetime of collecting and, as such, this personal record is no mean achievement.

One or two tracks stand out. Just As The Tide Was Flowing is always a favourite, the beautiful Now O Now by John Dowland has for far too long languished in the shadows and is surely due for a revival. The palpable tragic story of Annan Water suits Gef’s vocal style. False True Love, from the Appalachians, has an interesting tune and worthy sentiment for a collection such as this. The Tryst, by the Scottish poet William Soutar with music by James MacMillan, has a fine and beautiful, quintessentially Scottish tune, which stands out from the chaff. However The Unquiet Grave, one of Gef’s “long-time favourites” is by far the most successful track, where the music perfectly matches the words.

Once more returning to “whether you stayed the course or just dipped in...” There are both traditional and contemporary songs from all over Europe and beyond: The British Isles, Spain, America and Italy are all represented on For Love Is Lord Of All, so if you are looking for an unusual love song to perform yourself then look no further.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.