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STEVE TILSTON - Distant Days 

STEVE TILSTON - Distant Days 
Riverboat Records TUGCD1117 

The venerable songwriting maestro revisits his back catalogue by recording new acoustic renderings of songs and tunes covering his entire career. More intimate than the 2008 Reaching Back box set, here we have a nostalgic collection of simple renderings with voice, guitar and banjo (on Let Your Banjo Ring) and it is all a delight to hear. One supposes that there was no market for another retrospective (as aforementioned) – and the fact that ST has been on many labels over the course of 40 plus years, means that multiple permissions are required to release such a compilation. Just as well, I say, as personally I just love his simple arrangements, which is how I am most familiar with him in a live context.

Apart from obvious inclusions such as The Road When I Was Young and Here Comes The Night, we have three instrumental gems that are given their first airing. The Janschesque Shinjuku, in particular, is a lovely piece of fingerstyle guitar, while the DADGAD Southernhay Avenue and Slow Air In Dropped D (DADGBE) both give an insight into his unassuming but innate guitar style. Also of particular interest is an intimate version of The Slip Jigs And Reels, his most covered song, which gives it a different flavour from the usual covers.

If you are wanting a good, all round, introduction to Steve Tilston, this would be a cracking place to start – 19 tracks and mere seconds short of the maximum 80 minutes in length this is so much more than the words ‘value for money’ can say. Cracking.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.