Mick West

MICK WEST - A Poor Man’s Labour
Claytara Music CLCD042

Just when you get to thinking that your man Mick West hasn’t done any recording for a while, this comes along to make the wait worthwhile. For this, his third release, Glaswegian singer Mick West is joined by his band - Stevie Lawrence, bouzouki, 5 string guitar, hurdy gurdy; Frank Mc Laughlin, guitar, Scottish small pipes; and Fraser Fifield, soprano sax, low whistle, percussion, keyboard, piano, programming. With Karine Polwart adding extra vocals, that tots up to a grand sound indeed.

Mick has always impressed me as a singer who takes his time about his songs. By that I don’t mean the fifty-verse ballads, which he is perfectly capable of, but rather that he takes the time to get his head round his material and understand the message so that it is clearly put across to the listeners. This approach to the lyrics, links marvellously with Mick’s rich and mellow voice, and the sensitive instrumentation and arrangements of the band. The overall keyword of the end product is relaxed and gives a very natural feel to the material.

Just listen to the opening ‘Wild Rover’ for an illustration. Once, this was a fast and furious roof-raiser of a song, until it became fashionable to slow it down and drag it out till it was pretty tame and stayed still. Mick’s version lets the words tell the story at an even pace ornamented lightly and accompanied tastefully.

These qualities and the well-chosen selection of tracks make this a consistently good recording.

Gordon Potter

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 62 of The Living Tradition magazine.