‘Historic Events And Other Subjects’ - Ken Nicol(November 30, 2012)
For those that thought Ken Nicol was just the (ex) guitarist with Steeleye Span, think again. On his latest solo recording ‘Historic Events And Other Subjects’ Nicol’s writing skills both lyrically and instrumentally come into play on an album that amply displays his musical talent.
On the opening track ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’ he conveys the title pretty succinctly by starting with the man’s point of view (ever disparaging and condescending) before letting the woman (guest Becky Mills) put across her point in verses three and four. This particular track sounds as if it could have been lifted straight from a Steeleye album (I’m thinking Storm Force Ten Brecht here) with its jaunty mandolin and crashing guitar chords and should be checked out by singers looking for a topical and amusing tale that is usually left to the likes of daytime TV’s Jeremy Kyle.
Ken has an enviable reputation for being a consummate acoustic guitarist and this can be heard on the tale of the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ in its short but cleverly worded tale of whingeing (and some not so whingeing) ex-pats. This emotive and dextrous rippling finger-picked exercise should be required listening by anyone trying to master that particular guitar technique.
The words ‘traditional idiom’ regularly spring to mind but, ever the professional he manages to cross genres by including blues ‘She’s Walking’ and Pogues/Lindisfarne style Northern charm in a tale ‘The Shot That Killed Three’ that relates the true life and death story of Patrick McCafferty.
With a veritable arsenal of weapons including resonator, bass and slide guitars, mandolin, keyboards and ukulele and with Paul Burgess on drums this really should prove a ‘folk’ crowd pleaser in every respect. You will find ‘Historic Events And Other Subjects’ at www.kennicolmusic.com – released on MVS Records, catalogue VS CD025
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe