"If you want to walk with grace, meet me in the hall of faith." So begins one of the simply most enjoyable CD's to cross my path for a long time. "Hall Of Faith" entreats the listener to seek redemption, right the wrongs and lay down a burden. Then meet up in the hall of fame. I can see this song being picked up by a gospel choir, it's anthem-like hook is enticing, attractive and infectious. I defy anyone not to sing along with the refrain. It also contains a message worth consideration from us all.
Graham Robins has been around for many years, decades even. In his time he has graced the stages of some of the best venues in the country, opening for big names including several touring American bands in the 1960's. He has played in several bands of his own, each decade marking a development in his musical career. Starting in the church choir, an early interest in R&B expanded into Folk, Soul and Motown which gave him an excellent grounding in the musical genres and niceties which helped him establish his own style which is at the same time, easy on the ear, but mostly contains and underlying message.
Reflecting his time in church choirs, there is a spiritual bent to many of the songs on this lovely album, "The Great Awakening" is one such "Hall of Faith" and the title track "Majestic Halls" are others. Be aware that you don't have to be religious to enjoy them, just have an ear sympathetic to the emotions that drive good song writing.
Others are just fun, "Three Foot Spoon" for example. Three Foot Spoon has an old time Rock 'n Roll/Rhythm and Blues style which will no doubt appeal to a wide audience, certainly it did to me. As a teenager in the 1950's and 60's I could see this being a hit then, referring to the local hop, the girls all wearing high heeled shoes and the juke box being fed by a collection of coins. The three foot spoon refers to the long cutlery item required to get to the bottom of a particular confection, now coming back into fashion somewhat. - Ahh Happy Days.
The love song features widely in the portfolio of many musicians and I was very much taken by "Nights In Coleraine," a recalling of a past love. "One More Margarita" falls into the same genre, remembering the sweetest kiss.
His soul influences are to be heard in "Pure Soul" which contains the line, "Standing at the throne of Kings" and mentions some of his idols, Marvin Gaye. Otis Redding and Rufus Thomas for example. I think this was one of my favourite tracks on the album. It contains details and nuances that give some indication of the thought that has gone into the lyrics of the songs on this CD.
Born in Watford, Hertfordshire, this purveyor of folk with a Irish/Americana tilt has hitherto eluded me. Totally my loss as this is a quality, well crafted album and I wonder how much good music of his upon which I have missed out on during my years of interest in music of (almost) all kinds. Listening to the lyrics contained the songs on "Majestic Halls" has given me a respect for this man and I thoroughly recommend this album.
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