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CLIVE GREGSON 'Long Story Short' Fellside Recordings FECD184

After twenty-five years on the music scene, with twenty years since his first album and countless contributions to other projects and albums along the way, Clive Gregson has released his eighth solo album. All the well-crafted songs on this album with the expected impeccable guitar work and still fine voice show a musician comfortable with his body of work and the sometimes mellow, reflective songs show that the creative juices still flow for him.

No other musicians are involved in the album so it's probably as close as you could get to one of his respected and always enjoyable live gigs. Overall, it's hard to categorise this one. Singer-songwriter doesn't seem quite enough but despite a slight jazzy/bluesy influence and being recorded in Nashville, it is very much an "English" songwriter's album. The strength in it to me is in the quality of the writing. Nicely structured songs not venturing much further than from the theme of love or relationships but the observations and memories in the fifteen pieces are testament to his ability to create a nice laid back melody and a song that lingers. Whilst the guitar work is superb, oddly the strongest piece for me is the one in which he plays piano and produces the superb "I never learned a thing about you". It's a song that would stand up anywhere and lines like:

"I can quote you Dickens till my face turns blue but I never learned a thing about you...",

take me back to the late and underrated Clifford T Ward.

It's a good album not a great one, but the more I play it, the better it gets.

Neil Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.