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JOHN WARD - Life Drawing 

JOHN WARD - Life Drawing 
Ion Music lONCD11 

This is the eighth album from Lowestoft’s own John Ward. His career started with his 1987 CD The Shrinking World building his reputation as a singer of his own songs, and his 2016 album Sargasso garnered some outstanding reviews. And so, does this 2019 offering keep John in an upwards curve? Yes, I think so.

The opener Watching Old Faces Grow Young is a clever “welcome to the album”. It captures folk clubs down the years: warm places welcoming in strangers from the street with ne’er a hint of the aloofness that the occasional bad club could exhibit. It took the third cut, Jack The Lad, to really arrest me. Trawler deckhand Jack, back in port after a tough voyage, and spending his hard-earned wages: men familiar to John from his home in Britain’s most easterly fishing port. A strong chorus here lodges the song in my memory, and I am singing it as I write. The rest of the album maintains the level of quality product, and indeed reaches its acme with Free World Market and Celebrity: the first redolent of the great Steve Goodman, and the second a swipe at OK! Magazine and its ilk.

One quibble only: the liner notes were a disaster. I have reviewed CDs here for over a quarter of a century, but never encountered a typeface so small. Almost unreadable. Reminded me of Willard Wigan who paints pictures on the head of a pin. Put your lyrics online.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine