Album review: Michael Chapman - Trainsong: Guitar Compositions 1967-2010

Obscure old-timer heads into studio, re-records some prime picks from his career as instrumentals, makes truly involving, evocative music. Simple...

An underground folk figure ever since he started out playing to Cornish crowds in 1967, this double-disc career overview is released just as Chapman turns 70.

John Peel was a fan and he once counted Pink Floyd and Deep Purple as labelmates, but Chapman remained perenially obscure.

Now he has headed back into the studio to redress that, re-recording solo guitar versions of 26 songs from his rich back catalogue, spanning dozens of albums.

The instrumentals are warm, expressive and intimate, not to mention a testament to Chapman’s masterful musicianship as he weaves intricate rhythm and melodic sections without breaking sweat.

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As a consequence the tunes are not left feeling half-cooked, bereft of a voice, but complete, articulate and enigmatic. Chapman is a rare talent.

3 stars

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