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REG MEUROSS - Faraway People

REG MEUROSS - Faraway People
Hatsongs Records HAT011

My tastes in singing don’t often stray too far from the traditional end of the spectrum, but I know few singers who are easier to listen to than Reg – a fine, well-modulated voice used skilfully to deliver self-penned songs in a deceptively innocent-sounding manner that belies the sledgehammer impact of many of his lyrics. This CD is no exception, and here he focuses mainly on songs of protest, of love, and of imagined meetings.

It says a lot for his abilities that he’s able to cover these disparate subjects very effectively, due in no small part to the intimacy and immediacy of his performance, the simplicity of the (mainly guitar) accompaniment, and to the clarity of his elocution; you don’t have to listen hard to hear every word, and many of them will burn their way into your brain.

For me, this trait was particularly marked in the songs dealing with injustices and social wrongs on all levels, from his Angel In A Blue Dress and the endless pressure of her nurse’s job to what, for me, was the stand-out track on the album, Refugee. This song takes a man on a bus and, using simple and direct language, looks at the appalling catalogue of experiences he’s undergone and the losses he’s suffered (all from a real-life example), then returns to him sitting impassively on the bus. A fine example of songwriting at its best.

The love songs have that poignancy that seems to have always been one of Mr Meuross’s hallmarks and, again, the directness of the lyrics speaks of experiences that are common to many of us. The imagined meeting between Hank Williams and Dylan Thomas, and that of Elvis and Phil Ochs in a Morrisons cafe, may seem far-fetched, but they act as a springboard for our speculations, if we allow them to.

These are songs to really listen to, to make you think and remember, and will stir your emotions, and none of these is a bad thing.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.