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MIKE SILVER - Silver Collection

MIKE SILVER - Silver Collection
Faymus Recordings FRCD1015

As much as I have loved Mike Silver’s songwriting over the years, there is something enchanting about this collection of covers. Four of the 14 are by Silver’s erstwhile collaborator, the late Ewen Carruthers, and all of these are gems, although the absolute jewel is Paris, the opening song that kicks off the album with a perfect atmospheric piece of stature. The rendition of the old standard, Lucky Old Sun, is rock solid and features a blinding guitar solo courtesy of Jo Partridge and tasteful pedal steel guitar by Nils Tuxen. Dylan gets the Silver treatment with Boots Of Spanish Leather, and there’s even a version of The Water Is Wide, which is brilliant. If I tell you that there are also versions of Strange Fruit and The Autumn Leaves you should get a feel for the breadth of material here. I love the arrangement of the Townes van Zandt classic, Snowing On Raton, again with excellent pedal steel guitar from Nils Tuxen. Eric Bogle’s Safe In The Harbour is also outstanding as a solo piece.

If I have to single out one track for inspiration though, it has to be a John Richards song, Foundryman’s Daughter, which sounds like it has heritage but is seemingly quite new, and which features beautiful harmonies by Julie Boreham.

Now that Silver is in his 70th year, still continuing to tour extensively and coming up with product such as this is heartening. I just wish he’d come up to Scotland again. If alchemy exists you can find the gold here without question.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 114 of The Living Tradition magazine.