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STEVE TILSTON "Life By Misadventure" Market Square MSMCD108

Since this album was originally released fourteen years ago on Run River, Steve Tilston has consistently proved himself an admirable talent with an elegant body of work. No stranger to the music business, he'd begun in the 60s and I'd been aware of his name since " An Acoustic Confusion " in 1971 - he was one of those jobbing singer/songwriters like Mike Absalom and Cliff Aungier whom you'd find playing 'Samantha's' in Scarborough or supporting Amazing Blondel rather than in your local Folk Club, because as Steve says in the notes to this timely reissue "you had to be a comedian or a traditional performer to get in and get on." Truly inventive, skilled guitarists combining striking and distinctive vocals were somewhat at a disadvantage back then in erm, 'some' Clubs it might be recalled.

Having met and teamed up with Maggie Boyle, touring with the Ballet Rambert, and John Renbourn, relocating to Keighley; - 1987 was the year when Tilston's time was supposedly now. In actual fact it took a while longer before Simon Nicol would be 'phoning for publishing details of Steve's songs like ' Naked Highwayman ' and not before Steve and Maggie had put in a lot of hard graft, aided by calls from Peter Bellamy along the lines of "whadya mean you've never booked Steve Tilston?!"

Remastered and bolstered by bonus track ' Rhapsody ' from the later LP " Swans At Coole ", here again is the recording that would be a signpost to the sumptuous writing that would follow making Tilston's a name synonymous with the values of lyrical insights and strong tunes. Songs here still figure in his set lists today, including ' Here Comes The Night 'and Steve obviously retains an immense affection for the recording, describing it as "one of my best albums." I'd endorse that and recall ' These Days ' being pulled as a single at the time - the bristling tension of this anti-Thatcherite piece still resonates. In fact all the tracks remain valid; - sleek, sophisticated and packed with deft touches, marking the point when it all started to turn out nice for Steve Tilston. Warm, adroit musicianship with a heart full of soul.

Clive Pownceby

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