Review Archive

'All's Well' from Jake Wilson - an imaginatively constructed suite of pieces

(May 28, 2012)

The ironic title of 'All's Well' from Jake Wilson will not be lost on anyone who recollects the front cover Alls Wellphoto of the ill fated Scott Expedition. On this recording Jake explores the possible thought process that was going on in the minds of Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers and Robert Falcon Scott as they are nearing their inevitable deaths.

An imaginatively constructed suite of pieces, the bleakness conveyed by the chord structures is suitably chilling but at all times shows the passion and strengths of each character. With consummate skill, Wilson’s impeccable guitar work featuring techniques such as hammer-ons and glissando slides lends strength to the subject matter and buoyed by the fascinating ‘boys own’ style story really makes you listen and care for each character.

It is obvious from the painstakingly researched manuscripts that this album is a labour of love and much like Dave Swarbrick (who is also credited as ‘live recorder’ of the project) whose assiduousness in overseeing his own Babbacombe Lee story creates a riveting ‘listen’. This is an achingly artistic (though never starchy) recording that were it a photo of the expedition would rightfully take its place alongside those featured in a major exhibition. This is an interesting and disquietingly unique piece of solo ‘folk-opera’ that I hope finds a target audience.

Finally and I don’t know why but Jake’s vocal performance sounds reminiscent of those featured in the film The Wicker Man performed by Paul Giovanni and a very understated performance it is too. This is an album well worth the investment of your time and a few shekels – available from Jake Wilson Music JWM001.

Reviewer: Pete Fyfe

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