ALLAN TAYLOR - Leaving At Dawn

ALLAN TAYLOR - Leaving At Dawn
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The veteran singer-songwriter and academic (Allan Taylor holds an MA and PhD, the theses for which were mainly written on tours in Europe and New Zealand) describes his latest collection as ‘troubadour songs’, a return in style to his early years.  This is true to the extent that they generally occupy territory which will appear very familiar to the legion of long-time Taylor fans: going away (Leaving At Dawn), yearning to return (Back Home To You), memories triggered by revisiting old haunts (New York In The Seventies), regret at love’s passing (It Could Have Been), anticipation of love to come (Make Another Turn).  The exceptions are Firefly and The Last Of The Privateers, which Taylor characterises as ‘pastiche folk songs’, The Almost Man, written about the opportunities his late father never had and Taylor’s own consolation at being ‘the man he always wanted to be’, and Red On Green, a translation by Taylor of a song by Massimo Bubola poignantly based on a love letter written by his uncle, killed in the First World War.  However, the subtle guitar style, which has been Taylor’s trademark these past four decades is now augmented atmospherically by exotica such as Indian harmonium, Chinese hulusi, hang (a metallic drum, apparently) and cor anglais, in addition to violin, viola and low whistle.

The style may hark back to the classic Win Or Lose or Lines but, whilst their youthful passion is largely replaced on Leaving At Dawn by nostalgic recollection, Taylor, with the incorrigible romanticism which so endears him to his loyal following, isn’t about to go gentle into that good night without at least one more try: ‘Everyone’s a fool for love, I guess we never learn/Looking for a new romance as we make another turn’. No, Dr Taylor, I guess we never do - but there’s nothing you can prescribe for the human condition.

Dave Tuxford

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This album was reviewed in Issue 84 of The Living Tradition magazine.