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REG MEUROSS - Songs About A Train

REG MEUROSS - Songs About A Train
Hatsongs HAT012

Back in 2011, the late Stephen Jordan, Senior Library Assistant at the Music Faculty Library of the Bodleian in Oxford, approached Reg with the idea of a compilation of unreleased material. After what he calls a “cursory search down the back of a sofa”, Reg found 20 songs he’d recorded between 2006 and 2011, that had for whatever reason, not made it on to an album. Stephen reduced the list to 13, and the result was the signed limited edition CD The Dreamed And The Drowned.

Stephen Jordan died in 2015, and as a mark of respect, Reg felt it might be a good time to see what else in his oeuvre may have been overlooked. And thus it is we are here blessed with the arrival of this similarly limited edition album of 11 such songs, recorded by Reg between 2013 and 2017, and the album is dedicated to his late friend.

Reg quotes Stephen as saying: “Some songs don’t stay still long enough and scamper off, some are dazzled by the dragonfly’s gleam. Some songs are right books put on the wrong shelves”. And yes, clearly, that is a sublimely expressed view. And a very positive one. And worth the quoting.

But my job as a reviewer is to accept that sometimes you can have wrong books put on equally wrong shelves. After all, I have lost count of the albums I have reviewed down the years where an artiste tells us he/she has resurrected a song from their reject pile, and breathed new life into it, by adding a verse or changing the chorus, or whatever. But alas, when you hear the new revised version, one almost invariably sees why they did not persevere with it in the first place.

So when I discovered the nature of this album sent me for review, it is fair to say that I almost wanted to return it, un-reviewed to our dear editor. But silly that would have been. For in truth, whilst none of these songs will ever make Song of the Year, I found the album an engrossing listen: songs that run the gamut in subject matter and mood and melodic type, all delivered in Reg’s distinctive vocal style (one guesses that Neil Young and Cat Stevens were early influences here).

Apart from Track 1, Reg supplies all voices and instruments (the latter mainly guitar, but also with banjo, harmonica and mountain dulcimer evident). And although one never really misses accompanying musicians, is it a coincidence that Track 1, is by some distance the standout track? Here on Letting Go (a moving song on the subject of dealing with loss), he is accompanied by Simon Edwards on bass, Roy Dobbs (co producer) on drums, and most memorably by the esteemed stellar veteran rock keyboardist Rabbit Bundrick, whose soaring organ is so redolent of Al Kooper on early Dylan.

How one wanted Bundrick to hang around, but that said, there is no danger of this album hanging around. There are only a thousand signed copies available: and do not be surprised if by the time you read this, there aren’t too many left.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.