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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Welsh folk act, singer songwriter Martyn Joseph has long been a favourite. Soon after he first emerged on the folk scene 35 years ago. I happened to catch him a decade or so later when he was part of a show featuring American act Janis Ian, who at the time was making her recoding comeback and Martin Stephenson. Here Come The Young is typical of Joseph’s work. His unbending vocals, and well written observations of various aspects of life he’s heard of or experienced first hand are reminiscent of Ralph McTell. Non more so than the title track Here Come The Young, that sees him on the offensive in double quick time. I enjoyed use of mandolin immensely, and the general strength and commitment to his performance.
Never void of optimism he attaches his thoughts to what he calls the primary good of the majority. Joseph’s recent visit to Gaza on Palestine’s West Bank to play a festival got him to see first hand how people deal with life there. The Glass is a tribute to those that work, selflessly for the betterment of the people caught up in the struggles. People that have little or less to call upon. One song on the record was a direct influence of his time there, Take Back The Sky. Joseph’s connection to human rights doesn’t stop there, for in 2014 he launched the non profit organisation Let Yourself Trust.
There are other tracks on the Gerry Driver produced record of equal worth to the above noted Take Back The Sky. One that enjoys fine fiddle support and with splendid lyrics that speak of her white uniform and Red Cross on her chest that became the sniper’s view before she flies away he captures the attention of the listener. Those other tracks include pleading straight from the heart Collateral and Communion. With its great textures and some of the best playing on the record Joseph serves up some of the best folk music has to offer. Plus you have reflective muse Driving Her Back To London as he speaks, in contented voice of sharing with his love, music of the Rolling Stones while she shares Kings Of Leon. So contented is Joseph he feels the pieces are finally falling into place. Loves Majority speaks of evil of the world, and you still have the sublime Lost In Love. His American counterpart Richard Shindell (acclaimed Red House recording act) would, justifiable have been proud to have written it!
There is much to absorb. Not least are the good lyrics to contemplate on, and with some nice playing throughout what more could you ask of a folk singer-songwriter.
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