|Posted: 28 June 2013 at 2:37pm | IP Logged
Without Your Fire – Rob Halligan - reviewed by Tim Nevell
In this new short download album (do we call it an EP?), Rob offers us a
welcome sandwich of songs, that harks back almost a decade and brings us right
up to date. The outer layers, i.e. the first and last tracks are well known to
followers of Rob’s music: The opener, “Seagulls” is a reworking of the song,
“Dancing with Seagulls” that, for most of us marks the beginning of Rob’s solo
recording career, and which obviously has an important place in his heart. A
fuller, and musically more complex sound does not in any way bury the original
spirit of the song, the original recording of which still stands well on its
“Where Sweeter Rains Fall”, from “The Perils, the Grace and the Way”
album is here stripped down to acoustic guitar
and double bass provided by Si Haydon. It is the version that was played on Songs of Praise, and it is
good to have this on the album. On my download it is unfortunately considerably
quieter than the other tracks – my only regret.
The filling of the sandwich comprises 3 newer songs,: “I Can’t Make You Walk”
looks set to become a favourite, with it’s infectious sing along chorus. If
Rob’s plans to create a video with assorted friends singing and “walking” along
come to fruition then many of us may yet share a few seconds of fame. The
rhythmic percussive main chorus is reminiscent
of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” .
“In the Valley” starts off, musically speaking like something from Bob
Dylan’s “Modern Times”, with biblical images of the shepherd leading his flock.
”There are shadows in the valley, but there’s sunshine on the hill”, we are
told, a theme which is picked up in the chorus, and becomes the overriding
statement of this song. After a lifting guitar break we are propelled into the
full gospel anthem that this was always going to become.
The title song, “Without Your Fire” is, for my money an absolute
masterpiece. We are treated to a beautifully crafted, bluesy, melancholic weave
of guitars, with Rob’s vocals proclaiming “Without your fire, I’m a barren
man”. It is a song that I’d love to hear sung by Van Morrison or BB King, but
Rob Halligan proves to us here that he
is a worthy singer in this tradition too.
So, a musical sandwich that is
just the right length to listen to whilst eating a plate of the edible kind,
over lunch or during a long elevenses. For a minimum of 4 pounds via Bandcamp,
that’s good value for money.
... need some time to think.