KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Chapman, Michael – “Time Past & Time Passing” – [Electric Ragtime]

ArtCrimes   1/26/2009   CD, Country

Born in Leeds, England in 1941, Michael Chapman’s musical career goes back some 40 years, but this release is the first of his to reach KFJC’s library. His early work covered a lot of ground, with folk, rock, and blues efforts performed both solo and with bands, but his current fascination now seems to be American places and styles, with tracks here featuring ragtime fingerpicking a la Rev. Gary Davis and post-Delta blues explorations like those of John Fahey, who gets an explicit nod here via the track “Fahey’s Flag”. Chapman’s rough singing is not his strongest card, and and so he wisely focuses on playing, with most of these tracks being either instrumentals or songs with long instrumental passages. His playing is precise and controlled, but not so much as to become a technical exercise. The production is intimate and close up, done in a small English studio, but the overall sound sometimes evoke the wide open spaces, especially on his electric work here. (crimes)

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