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JOE STEAD - World Peace Through Song

JOE STEAD - World Peace Through Song
Private Label

One of the side effects of a General Election is that the electors become aware of a number of colourful characters in new and interesting ways. In this case, it is in CD form, by a jolly chap who subtitles himself ‘The Singing Politician’, and who stood in the Calder Valley constituency representing the World Peace Through Song party. If enthusiasm and the ability to self-harmonise on folk melodies were vote winners, he would have walked the election – and his last place, pulling in only 165 votes, is nothing more than tragic. It is now possible to purchase this legendary promotional disc for yourself, if you aren’t lucky to be one of the 165 Calder Valley voters who got in first…

All right I know that this isn’t going to set the charts on fire – there are only 27 minutes of music – but there is a lifetime of influences encapsulated herein. The bulk of the tracks feature Joe Stead on vocals and banjo, with A.N. Other on guitar on Somos El Barco (it may also be Joe Stead but there is a dearth of accompanying sleeve notes). Other titles give the lie to what were probably the core thrusts of his manifesto, for example, Planet For Sale and My Rainbow Race. There’s even Paul’s Song (St.Paul’s Letter To The Corinthians). It all rattles along at a jolly old pace and made me smile throughout. No, there ain’t hundreds of instruments, or bundles of originality, most of the original material being clichéd 60s relics, but as he’s virtually giving these away I would heartily commend this to you. If I lived in his constituency he’d get my vote hands down (particularly as the SNP don’t stand in West Yorkshire).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.