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PHIL HULSE - Unpredicted Storm

PHIL HULSE - Unpredicted Storm

This CD, by one third of the excellent trio The Queensbury Rules, arrived to be reviewed just prior to Christmas.  It would have been easy for it to have been lost in the many seasonal offerings of that time of year.  I am glad to say it wasn’t.
Phil has served his apprenticeship in that band gaining recognition as songwriter, vocalist and on things stringed.  After gaining recognition for the quality of his lyrics on the band’s ‘Black Dog’ album he was responsible for the anthem-like ‘I Still Believe In England’ on their follow up.  It was, therefore, only natural that he would want the challenge of doing a solo album, and of being alone in live performances. On ‘Unexpected Storm’ he shows that he can rise to that challenge.

Using minimalistic accompaniment this CD is full of gems-many based on his own experiences or with a strong sense of his local heritage.  Don’t bother with the old adage of saving the best ‘til last, we go straight in with the outstanding ‘Not In My Name’ about the plight of the mothers of two young soldiers and their ultimate sense of frustration.  Another strong song is ’Lovers In A Nanny State’ and all the invasions of privacy.  His song about Cyprus’ divided capital seems especially poignant as it is only a couple of years since I stood on the same green line.  There are many more equally good songs, with plenty of social and political comment, including a new version of ‘Heritage and History’- the sentiments of which seem to underpin much of ‘Unexpected Storm’.  For me the stand out quality Phil shows on this work is the excellence of his lyrics-something Bob Harris has also commented on, and he should know!

Well recorded and produced as always from this label, ‘Unexpected Storm’ is definitely worth a listen or two.  Phil Hulse has produced a little gem here.  But what would you expect from a member of The Queensbury Rules!

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.