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VIN GARBUTT - Persona .. Grata

Persona .Grata

This is a welcome return to recording for Vin, who's been poorly recently (he's obviously over the worst if his gig list is anything to go by). Never one to shy away from the 'difficult' issues of our time, he's easily earned the title of social commentator for our generation (and adjacent ones). Here he tackles war, death, marriage break ups, mixed marriage in Middlesborough, an abortion that goes wrong where the foetus survives, the miners' strike and the peace movement of the 1960s. This is the curriculum of a social work course condensed on to a convenient CD format - oh! and he sounds wonderful as ever. Thought provoking, conscience pricking, toe tapping - gentle songs with hard messages and an unparalleled choice of material.

The supporting cast deserve a mention too - Sean Taylor's fretless bass lifts Dave Wilson's Storm Around Tumbledown from 'just another war song ' to a dramatic piece where the listener can imagine themselves on that lonely hillside in 1982. While on the subject of war songs, Shep Woolley's marathon Down By the Dockyard Wall gets a blinding airing too. Mr G. has stated that he doesn't yearn for stardom 'in the accepted sense' - but he deserves recognition, if nothing else for providing the soundtrack to the industrial upheavals in the Northeast of England. My hat's off to you Vin.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.