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Reviews

Mark HarrisonMark Harrison
Album: Turpentine
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 13
Website: http://www.markharrisonrootsmusic.com

I first came across Mark Harrison a few years when I organised a music festival called BAMfest in Bedale, North Yorkshire.

I was looking for up-and-coming blues players to give them a helping hand with their careers, and being a blues player myself, was delighted when Mark, who hails from London, got in touch.

Needless to say, he went down a storm at the festival, and I have taken a keen interest in how he has progressed since then.

Turpentine is Marks's fifth album by my reckoning, and follows his last effort, a live recording called On the Chicken Sandwich Train, recorded in Wigan.

There are 13 tracks, all original songs, which have a heavy bias to the blues but are not slavishly following the genre.

It is a delightful collection of modern lyrics that use the backdrop of the blues to tell their stories.

The opener, from which the title comes, Black Dog Moan, is an upbeat song with lovely percussion, organ and syncopated guitar.

So Many Bad People (Out There) is a slower slide blues, with Mark displaying a fine touch on his vintage National. Hell Of A Story is a whimsical tale that moves along sweetly. There is more fine tinkling guitar on Hardware Store.

This is a neatly produced album which shows a musician who is enjoying himself playing his brand of blues.

There are clearly influences of the likes of Mississippi John Hurt on songs such as the delicate Josephina Johnson, but throughout Mark puts his own stamp on his songs.

The final song this fine album is Shake The House, another upbeat song with the introduction of accordion to give another flavour. The band stretch out with some fine double bass, harmonica and drums - a fitting way to wrap things up.

Yes this a fine collection of blues-influenced songs. If you love acoustic blues I heartily recommend.

John Knighton