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PETE MORTON "Swarthmoor" Harbourtown HARCD044

I used to think that Pete Morton was just another guitar playing; singer songwriter so didn't bother to go out of my way to see him. Then I heard "Another Train" performed by the Poozies - Sally Barker in particular - and I had to search him out. I found his version to be wonderfully moving (check it out on his hits CD) but also that he was an amazing interpreter of traditional song. I now had to see him live, something that was not too difficult as he lived locally at that time. What a performer! So imagine my joy when this dropped through my letter box for review - but what if it was not up to scratch. I began to worry. I plucked up courage and opened the CD player drawer. That was days ago and it is still in there.

"Swarthmoor" named after a favourite place of Pete's is quite simply brilliant, just him and a guitar with eleven of his own songs. Right from the first track about the Middle East conflict I was hooked. Everything else had to stop. There are highlights around each corner. Each song is sincere in its message and well crafted. It feels as if a lot of love and care has been put into these before Pete has let us share them.

I don't usually select individual tracks but it would not be doing this cd justice if I didn't. 'Listening to My Boots' appears to be about a countryside walk but is much more; 'The Luckiest Man' tells the story of his own parents' romance; 'Six Billion Eccentrics' takes a common phrase and develops it into a catchy sing-along item, whilst 'Goodbye to Oil' is quite extreme in the message put forward.

Maybe there isn't another 'Another Train' here, but 'St. George Slew The Dragon' may prove to last in people's minds long after Pete has finished the gig, or the CD player has been turned off for the night. The recording is of a high standard, the insert clear with readable lyrics and informative sleeve notes. "Swarthmoor" should do well especially if local radio stations give it airtime.

Thanks Pete for an excellent offering, a contender for a place in those end of year best albums - not that I get asked for my Top 10!

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.