Another great review of “Twelve Strings to the Beau” – this time in the new edition of Flashback Magazine.
That makes two in a week with the Ugly Things piece from last Monday!
Just so glad the album’s pulling in all these positive vibes…
Twelve Strings To The Beau (The Sound Of Salvation LP, with insert)
One of the best things about the current vinyl revival has been the appearance of albums that (for whatever reason) never got released back in the day. While a fair number of these ‘lost’ 60s and 70s recordings have finally seen the light of day on CD, it’s more satisfying when they come out on LP, as originally intended. This is a case in point. Beau (the musical alter ego of
Trevor Midgley) has
been a busy man for the last couple of years, with more of his material
surfacing than in the previous 40 years combined. The latest instalment is an
album he recorded in 1975, after the dissolution of Dandelion Records. Taped at
Tractor Sound Studios (which had just been established by Steve Clayton and Jim
Milne of the like-named duo), the intention was to shop the
finished work around various labels. However, a promotion at Midgley’s day job
involving moving to a different part of England, putting the album on indefinite
hold – until now.
Twelve Strings returns to the straightforward unaccompanied arrangements on Beau’s debut, though the sound is anything but one-dimensional, thanks to the remarkable variety of tones the man gets from his 12-string guitar. The subject matter of the 14 tracks ranges from personal, introspective pieces to commentary on power and politics, and also includes a couple of narrative songs, a character study and observations on current affairs. As with most of his compositions, these songs can be classified as British folk, but definitely not of the traditional variety. Beau is usually compared to Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, though I find the similarities superficial. Nevertheless, those with a penchant for acoustic-guitar-toting singers with something to say will certainly be rewarded by listening to this long-awaited album.
The Sound Of Salvation has gotten off to an impressive start with this release, even if five of the songs had previously appeared on Beau’s 2009 CD Edge Of The Dark: Unreleased Recordings 1972-1985. The mastering and pressing give the record a warm sound, while the simple yet striking packaging helps convey the LP’s vibe. The printed lyric sheet is a welcome cherry on the sundae. It would be great if this new label can continue to unearth buried treasure such as this.
(Scott D. Wilkinson)