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JOHNNY COPPIN - River Of Dreams 

JOHNNY COPPIN - River Of Dreams 
Red Sky Records RSKCD124 

This isn’t the first Johnny Coppin album I’ve reviewed, nor I hope the last, since Johnny is only 75 years young and judging by this thoroughly unjaded new album, still has years of creativity inside of him. But let it be the first review of mine that does not trot out both his stellar Decameron past, and the list of his regular musician pals who always adorn his albums with their so-very-simpatico accompaniment. Suffice to say re the latter: his glorious voice may not need them, but, boy-oh-boy, they sure do add the finest aerial rigging for him to do his vocal hire-wire act.

This is a collection of 12 songs, mostly penned by Johnny (with two being covers). With a running time of 51 minutes, one doesn’t feel short-changed, and it was a privilege to take the CD from its stylish six-panel Digipak, and a pleasure to read the 12 page booklet’s marvellously legible words (with no irritating underlying decorative design giving the reader a headache).

His Song Of The Severn was the song that most won my heart in this album. Its chorus has taken up residence inside my head, and I find myself singing it every ten minutes. Not since Hedy West’s Roll On Weary River, Roll On, has a river song claimed such ascendancy over me.

Of his two covers, I far preferred When The Master Calls The Roll, a song set in the American Civil War by Rosanne Cash/John Leventhal/Rodney Crowell. It is a song which asks if the union can be preserved: made tremendously topical by the events of January 6th, 2021.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 143 of The Living Tradition magazine