Johnny Dickinson

Johnny Dickinson - English Summer
Hard Road Recording HRCD001

‘English Summer' is a collection of self-penned songs (oh, and one delightful instrumental, 'Tinker Box') and let me declare at the outset that I enjoyed it. Good, simple songs, a terrific 'Smokey' voice with a bluesy feel and some wonderful guitar picking. For me the outstanding tracks are 'Hear Me Calling' and 'Somewhere Tonight', both with beautiful, sparse, almost raw arrangements that give the aforementioned a chance to really shine. Therein, I guess, lies my problem with this album. Johnny has help on this CD from a group of top notch pals (John McCusker, Chris and Kelly While, Andy Cutting among others) who are all fine musicians and singers performing well. But I can't help feeling that much of the material here is a little over-arranged. After several listens this CD is growing on me, but, so far, I can't escape the thought that I would like the chance to see and hear Johnny and his favourite guitar without the frills. I'll look forward to it.

Phil Thomas