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ALAN REID & ROB VAN SANTE - The Adventures Of John Paul Jones

ALAN REID & ROB VAN SANTE - The Adventures Of John Paul Jones
Red Sands RSCD003

I’ve followed Alan Reid’s career since The Battlefield Band was a trio so I’m well aware of his musical pedigree and his capabilities as a songwriter. But his latest album is a real departure from what’s gone before and is something of a musical Tour de Force.

Reid worked on this for about eight years after becoming fascinated by the life story of a Scottish gardeners son who rose from humble beginnings to found the American navy, work for the Empress of Russia, be feted and honoured in France by Louis XVI and hang about with the likes Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The songs are written in a variety of folk styles depending on the location Jones was in at the time. When I Was Young, the story of an old Cossack remembering serving under Jones is distinctly Russian, while The Petite Commodore has obvious Breton influences and is part sung in French. It’s no surprise that Holland sounds like a Dutch tune and John Jones is decidedly American with a wee nod towards Country and Western.
In truth there is not a bad track on the album, which I’ve about worn out with repeated playing. My particular favourites are Landlord and the final song The Chevalier.
The other half of the duo Rob van Sante is a large part of this albums success, from his harmonies and elegant, understated, guitar playing to the recording, mixing and mastering.

Hugh Taylor

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.