Friday, May 27, 2011

Andrew John - The Machine Stops 1972

It wouldn't be strictly accurate to refer to Andrew John (Huddleston) as a 'singer/songwriter', as all but one of the songs on his sole album, 1972's The Machine Stops, are his interpretations of other people's material. No shame there; plenty of more familiar names have done the same. Once upon a time, hardly anyone wrote their own material; that's how Tin Pan Alley started, with professional songwriters servicing musicians (so to speak). Enough history that you already know; John delivers some very listenable versions of songs by Nick Drake (Time Has Told Me; at this point, Drake was far from a household name), Leonard Cohen (Famous Blue Raincoat, rather lacking the gravitas of the original), Al Stewart (the excellent Old Compton Street Blues) and Roy Harper (Another Day), amongst others. His one original, Why Not Admit, is a perfectly good song with a slight country feel, certainly no worse than many similar.

John plays Mellotron himself, with cello lines on Tony Bolton's When I Wake Up (that could almost be real) and Gerry Rafferty's Her Father Didn't Like Me, although I do wonder whether he couldn't find/afford a cellist, so just substituted the studio Mellotron. This isn't on CD and may never be, but a download has appeared on someone's site and no, it isn't immoral when something's commercially unavailable. Worth hearing for fans of early '70s Brit-folk, but not for Mellotron nuts. Incidentally, John is married to Danish artist/musician Lissa Sørensen, with whom he still plays and releases the occasional album. AMG.

listen here


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