Link to Living Tradition Homepage





CHRIS WOOD - None The Wiser

CHRIS WOOD - None The Wiser
R.U.F Records RUFCD013

A new style of Chris Wood album – mainly through the use of Hammond organ and upright bass, but with familiar motifs woven throughout. Wood is such an astute observer and interpreter of his surroundings that he has become one of our greatest commentators. The associated blurb claims that there are no clichés here – but in actual fact, his use of language is painfully direct at times, subtle and teasing elsewhere, but always with a message. Mostly that message speaks of the humanity of the man – how what he has eavesdropped or observed has had an effect on him, and when sung back to us can engender a similar effect on the listener. It mostly does.

The title track is easily the best example of his craft. A Whole Life Lived speaks of a man approaching middle age and recognizing himself in the words and actions of a younger person – and the self-analysis that often follows. Committed to song, this is a stalwart piece. I can’t say that I really understand why anyone can feel that Jerusalem needs a new tune – and it takes the courage of someone like Chris Wood to try, but sadly it leaves me cold (mind you, Blake’s lyrics mostly side-swerved my Scottish mentality in the first place). The Little Carpenter is the only tilt at trad and is powerfully but at the same time respectfully delivered.

Throughout, Wood’s guitar playing is understated, and on this occasion he uses an Epiphone semi-acoustic which is a new exploration, and I hope a trend he will continue. At just barely 40 minutes overall, I am left wanting more – but what is there is some of the best around these days.

Grem Devlin

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.