‘Old School Photograph’ from Richard Digance(April 04, 2012)
Anyone who can include sound-bites of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, In The Bleak Midwinter, Ding Dong Merrily On High and We Wish You A Merry Christmas with lyrics that evoke childhood memories (however convoluted) of that famous trenches football match in 1914 gets a resounding thumbs up from me, so does ‘Old School Photograph’ from Richard Digance.
Richard’s account of ‘The Ballad Of Johnny Puller’ is a powerful evocation on the futility of war proving the old adage that the pen can indeed be mightier than the sword especially in the hands of someone this creative. There’s no mawkish sentimentality here just well observed, wry smile inducing moments that however fabricated…the names may not be real but the story is…relate a boys-own tale far more than McCartney’s ‘Pipes Of Peace’ or Jona Lewie’s ‘Stop The Cavalry’ ever did.
Talking (as one does) about nostalgia it’s always played a pivotal role in Digance’s performance and perhaps none more so than on the title track and his homage to the East End with an enjoyable rendition of ‘The Houses In Between’ originally popularised by Music Hall’s Gus Elen. More often than not he is joined throughout the recording on various tracks by Matt Black (keyboards), Neil Vine (drums), Arnie Cottrel (mandolin) and Vicki Hobbs (vocals) and for good measure there’s even a solo guitar instrumental ‘The Plaistow Tune’ that utilises (to me at least) a fairground carousel style melody.
As ever from Richard there’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that and for the majority of those of us that have followed his career from the early days he always manages to make his observations on life interesting and yes, at times thought provoking. Available on (Write Good Music).
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe