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BRAM TAYLOR - Jokers & Rogues

BRAM TAYLOR - Jokers & Rogues
Fellside Recordings  FECD246

This is Bram Taylor’s 10th CD for Fellside, and demonstrates a fine ear for a good song. Unfortunately though, for this listener at least, it’s all a bit bland. I’m sure if you spent an evening in his company, you’d dutifully buy the album to take home and listen to, to remind you of the warmth of his delivery, his accomplished guitar playing, his broad repertoire - and you’d be happy. But coming to it cold, the CD is just too ‘nice’. It’s as if Engelebert Humperdink had discovered the Mudcat Cafe and brought out a CD to celebrate. Except Bram Taylor can sing.
When it works, it works. On the lovely Huw Williams song, Rosemary’s Sister, or Brian Bedford’s excellent What’s The Use Of Wings, both with a beautiful string accompaniment by Andy Jones and Wendy Weatherby, he delivers. Perhaps you just have to see him live.
The Water Is Wide is a wonderful song that I can never hear enough versions of, but, sorry, I Shall Be Released? Just because he points out in the liner notes that Elvis Presley and The Beatles also recorded it is no excuse.
I think the problem, for me at least, is that Bram sounds as if he’s smiling all the time. He always sounds jaunty. He always sounds as if he’s playing in a major key. That’s fine, but, especially if you’re singing a sad song, it’s OK to sound sad. Otherwise life gets a bit monotonous. Life’s too short.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.