Twelve Strings to the Beau
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Review by Jason Barnard
In July 1969, as Beau, Trevor Midgley released the very first single on John Peel’s Dandelion Records, followed by two critically acclaimed albums prior to the label’s demise. In 1975 with his trusty twelve-string in hand, he recorded an album’s worth of material that through a twist of fate didn’t see a release at the time. The Sound of Salvation label has now presented this material, that would have been Beau’s third album in the format it deserves: in heavyweight vinyl, high quality artwork and lyric sheet.
It does sound excellent in analogue and though a few tracks have crept out from the archives over the years this is their most fitting setting.
“Love Is” one of the few love songs in Beau’s catalogue and is an excellent way for the uninitiated to hear this master songsmith. The second track “The Roses of Eyam”, a true story based on the Great Plague is already a folk standard due to Roy Bailey’s release but this is the original and best version.
Beau digs far deeper and wider than most songwriters and his topics inform and challenge the listener from child abduction in “Miss Alice Preece”, “Cartoon” – colonialism, to alternative World War Two events in “Bristol Museum”.
Other favourites include “Black Raven of the Morning” and “Shanty Town”; the latter with a political edge. The aptly named “Goodbye” finishes this splendid long player; it focuses on the passing nature of life but this is a record that will live long in the memory.