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Alan Hull SongbookAlan Hull Songbook
Album: Some Other Time
Label: Belvue
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.alanhullsongbook.com

It's impossible not to get excited about long lost songs and albums, there's something special about unearthing buried treasures none more so than when the artist is the late lamented Alan Hull.

Alan Hull, founder member of Lindisfarne and their most prolific songwriter left a legacy of 120 tapes in his home studio, the task to sort out the studio fell to son in-law Dave Hull-Denholm (the surname came about when Dave married Francesca, Alan's daughter).

Rather than just finding early copies and demo's of existing known songs Dave found an amazing wealth of material never commercially released. The problem was however the deterioration and quality of the ¼ inch recordings was such that the option to put them out "as is" couldn't be condoned.

A solution was found. Dave, who voice is so close to Alan's that hearing him live at times you can close your eyes and imagine it is "The" Mr Hull on stage, chose to re-record the songs using only the instruments available at the time the tracks were laid down (1967-1969).

Aiding Dave on this task was Ian Thompson, both of whom have appeared in later versions of the Lindisfarne band.

But what of the music? Is it worthy of release?

The answer is a resounding yes. Dave and Ian have done a tremendous job in putting this all together, in mixing the styles from stripped back piano and vocal to a full electric band sound.

And in terms of overall feel it's closer to Alan's solo output than it is to the group output. Strong melodies that would fit seamlessly on to "Pipedream", outshine "Squire" and match "Phantoms" and later work. It is incredible that such work was discarded and forgotten about.

As you crack open the cellophane you are greeted by the opening title track "Some Other Time" it's a nod of the head in the direction of the Beatles

There's a touch of psychedelia, in "Click-Clock, Tick-Tock", as it seemingly explores Beach Boys vocal harmonies and echoes, children's voices, it sounds fresh and not in the least dated. "Little Things", minor keys, major violin flights, a jazzy feel, it floats like those whispery white clouds in a similar way that the early Zombies songs did.

"Love Lasts Forever" is up there with the best of Alan's compositions, reflected here with just a plaintive piano and that voice. For me it's the standout track, achingly sad, beautiful melody, as good as a "A Walk In The Sea".

"Clear White Light" is the forerunner of the much more widely known "Clear White Light (pt 2)" that appeared on Nicely Out Of Tune and for many a year was used as a closing song by the classic Lindisfarne line up. The lyrics to this song are those that appeared as a poem titled "Love Part 382" in Alan's sadly out of print and increasingly scarce book of verse "Mocking Horse" published by Spice Box Books.

"Wild Flowers" is another show stopping ballad featuring Bradley Creswick on violin.

"She" is an uptempo rocker with a great chorus hook.

Elsewhere there are tantalising snippets of melodies in songs such as the jaunty "Opposites" and "Personal History Book" that would gain their own subsequent life in future outings.

Fans of Lindisfarne and Alan's work will lap this up quite rightly so as they did the band's series of "Buried Treasures" issued previously.

As magnificent as this release is, I have one little request please to Dave and Ian, The Alan Hull Songbook, please don't keep us waiting another twenty one years for volume two.

Ian Cripps