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BARBARA DICKSON - To Each And Everyone  The Songs Of Gerry Rafferty

BARBARA DICKSON - To Each And Everyone The Songs Of Gerry Rafferty
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX378

The body of work that Gerry Rafferty left us was impressive – his high production values made his songs appear untouchable to many and there is thus a dearth of competent covers. Barbara Dickson, though, has the love of the man and the breadth of talent to do his songs justice, particularly with the monumental talent that is Troy Donockley at the helm.

Listening to this album I have experienced emotions being teased out of songs that I hadn’t realised before were woven into the originals – Barbara’s version of Baker Street uses the violin of Frank Van Essen to replace the iconic sax and gives the intro an air of melancholy that has reinvented the piece for me. To Each And Everyone, the ultimate goodbye song, the Rafferty version of which actually dates from 1971, has a poignancy he couldn’t have anticipated at the time and the combination of Barbara’s voice and harmonium accompaniment nails it. The Ark could have been written yesterday or a hundred years ago, but is welded to the present in this monumental version. Mary Skeffington, Rafferty’s ode to his mother, is caressed with kid gloves and reminds us all what mums are all about and why they all deserve songs – ‘cept we aren’t all Gerry Raffertys! A particular moment that shook me to the core was Troy Donockley’s uilleann pipe solo on Family Tree – stunning. Neil Drinkwater shines on grand piano on five tracks.

Most of us have seminal Gerry Rafferty songs that touched us in our youth. At least half a dozen of them are here – and performed with love and eloquence by his friend who never stopped loving him. There must be plenty for a follow up. I can’t wait. This one is the business for me.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 98 of The Living Tradition magazine.