Link to Living Tradition Homepage





GEOFF LAKEMAN - After All These Years

GEOFF LAKEMAN - After All These Years
Private Label GLAK01

The surname is, of course, immediately familiar. Geoff is the patriarch of the clan; having passed retirement age, he has been persuaded to make his first album. He’s a splendid interpretive singer and a fine judge of material. The songs here have been gathered along the way from the tradition or those working within the tradition. He’s no mean songwriter either: three remarkable originals reflect, in very different ways, his social awareness and love of the West Country – Rule And Bant celebrates the courage of Cornish miners, Tie ‘Em Up is a hugely singable protest against the EU’s disempowerment of Cornish fishing fleets and, in total contrast, the album closer, Doggie Song, is a comic satire in the spirit of Tom Lehrer.

The album is a testament to the life’s journey of a man who travels with eyes and ears open. He shares his discoveries, ever the bountiful quester, and most of the consistently excellent material herein will be unfamiliar.

As one might expect, Geoff’s extended family, who encouraged him to make the album, are on hand. The album is produced by Sean Lakeman, who never allows the presence of celebrity names to displace Geoff’s concertina-accompanied performances. Guest musicians always enhance and never distract here. And what guests – Sean on guitar, Seth on fiddle, Sam on piano, harmony vocals from Kathryn Roberts, Sam Kelly, Jim Causley and Cara Dillon. Most thrilling of all, on England Green And England Grey, a masterful song of quiet rage, the great Nic Jones steps to the mic to provide a harmony part to cherish.

The album is as layered and rewarding as the Cornish landscape, perpetually providing new depths, surprises and insights, complementary strata of sound and interpretation - an intriguing and welcoming place to which to return, time and time again.

As a final note, one should say that this CD, superb as it is, reflects only part of Geoff’s talent – no real hint at the range of his repertoire which embraces country, pop, music hall and, best of all, some of the finest renditions of Randy Newman songs you’ll ever hear – grist for his second CD one hopes. Geoff’s doing a lot of live work this year. Don’t miss a chance to go and see him – and don’t leave without a copy of this CD.

Nigel Schofield

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 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.