Damien, one of the most charismatic of solo singers around the scene, and Mike, a member of a famous singing family, combine to bring a powerful set of songs to my eager ears. Since ever I heard that these two were singing together I have waited for a chance to hear them, now I have it by way of this splendid album.
‘Under the Influence’ comes about because the singers have chosen songs they heard from artists who have made an impression on them enough to become major influences in their attitude to their music. When I tell you that these influences include Peter Bellamy, Dick Gaughan, Ewan MacColl, Walter Pardon, Tony Hall, Bert Lloyd, Stan Hugill, and others of the same ilk you will expect an album full of fine songs and, By George, You’ll Get It!
The enclosed booklet tells of the introduction to folk music each singer went through with Damien Barber making fond mention to the club in Norwich led by Cliff Godbold (Hello Cliff, how are you? Not seen you in years) and in Mike’s case through being a member of the Wilson family, justly celebrated throughout the land for their robust commitment to folk song.
Barber and Wilson have made a choice of songs that include three from Peter Bellamy, ‘On Board a 98’, Down the Moor and the Al Stewart opus Nostradamus, two from Dick Gaughan, The Green Linnet, and the glorious Now Westlin’Winds, and two of MacColl’s last and finest The Joy of Living and My Old Man.
There are twelve tracks in all but these I’ve named show the standard the artists have set, cracking songs, all of ‘em. Damien Barber does some fine backing on guitar or concertina on several tracks, never getting in the way or distracting from the song. Both these blokes are Singers above all, and their commitment to song shines throughout.
Good voices, good arrangements, good songs, Very good album.