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Roger DaviesRoger Davies
Album: Live At The Topic Folk Club
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

Roger and Bradford's Topic Folk Club go back a long way - to 2007, when he performed three songs at a singers' night and was promptly given a gig booking. Yes - he's that good! and I've lost count of the number of times he's been re-booked there since, always deservedly commanding a loyal following and a packed house. As was indeed the case on the two nights the music on this CD was recorded - 10th and 11th September 2015.

Roger's act is endearing and charmingly direct, and he possesses the enviable skill of obtaining an instant rapport with any audience (it's no wonder that he was such a hit with the Fairport set when he supported them on their latest tour). His delivery is characterised by its easygoing, disarming simplicity, as are his gently and naturally crafted songs and his unassuming melodic guitar style. If ever there was a case of art concealing art… Honesty and humanity allied to a genuine affection for his native Yorkshire; the provincial raised to the level of folk art, one might say. You know exactly what to expect, so this typical club set will spring no surprises - but the glory of Roger's music is that no matter how many times you hear those songs, each one still sounds fresh-minted and intimate (being sung to and for you personally). The ten songs are drawn from throughout his output, with one or two receiving their third airing on CD, but me I never grow tired of hearing the likes of Huddersfield Town, Into The Sun and Brighouse On A Saturday Night alongside the romantic Here For You, the nostalgic Time Goes By and the classic (I Think I Hear) Destiny Calling… Roger also gets to air two new songs here - Chances Are and disc opener Rolling Dice, the latter may well rank among his finest.

The chummy essence of Roger's personality is ably captured by Mike Hockenhull's recording, and while the crowd is vocally enthusiastic there's no intrusion on the music (although at the same time surprisingly little joining-in with the songs). This disc is more than a memento, and a solid investment. Go get!

David Kidman