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ERIC BOGLE - The Source Of Light 

ERIC BOGLE - The Source Of Light 
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX415 

A new album by Eric will always be welcomed with open arms here in the UK. The Source Of Light was recorded in Australia late last year under the guiding hand of producer Peter Titchener, a member of the “Bogleband” that backs Eric nowadays. The album contains a dozen of Eric’s latest compositions along with two by Peter himself and a cover of The Border, Eric’s favourite among the songs penned by his late friend and one-time musical partner John Campbell Munro, which with its special resonances for Eric arguably surpasses even John’s own 2007 recorded version.

Eric’s songwriting is still in fine health, replete with meaningful lyrics and memorable melodies. Embers, for example, reflects poignantly on the achingly bittersweet combination of comfort and hurt that memories provide, while the disc’s title song forms a passionate (and compassionate) commentary on war, posing the inevitable (and unanswerable) rhetorical questions regarding culpability. Two environment-themed songs – When The Last Tree Falls and deceptively jaunty, swinging country-flavoured waltzer, The Armageddon Waltz, carry the strapline “we’re all doomed!”. The Flag lays Eric’s anti-Fascist cards firmly on the table - conviction expressed with all due vitriol - while in contrast, Eric returns to thinking of his mother Nancy with the tender retrospective apology If She Ever Dreamed. Particular disc highlights come with those songs written in remembrance and/or tribute – A Dear John Letter (to John Campbell Munro), which is set within the jewel-like Emma Luker tune Mind The Gap; Song For Susan; and Catching The Wave, Eric’s beautiful tribute to the very-much-missed Australian folk musician John Thompson (Cloudstreet), which is sung here by Chris While with Julie Matthews on piano and Emma’s violin soaring aloft. The album closes with the gorgeously harmonised a cappella If I Should Wake, which both mirrors the opening track’s refrain, “Sing while we still have a voice/choice”, and incidentally proclaims there’s plenty of life in The Old Dog yet! Thank you for the gift of years, Eric.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 143 of The Living Tradition magazine