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Tim Moon Tim Moon
Album: English Rockabilly/Live 2017
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 18+22+18

Another quarter, and yaroo! another wizard chapter of Professor Moon’s Time Travels in Sound. Well, to be accurate, two separate new CD releases that have come my way since the bumper crop of three last quarter! The man’s nowt if not prolific! (which also proves you can’t ever have too much of A Good Thing!). The first of the two, English Rockabilly (great title!), came out at the start of the summer, and is every bit as much a stall-setter or primer as it is a further lavish instalment of “moonificence”. It seems that every possible inch of musical ground, every musical style is covered - and every possible musical instrument is played (I could take up the whole reviews section listing ’em all – ok, I may be guilty of slight exaggeration on that last point!). A touch lo-fi on occasion, sure, but also ripe with the white heat of DIY creativity. Whatever, you’ll be unlikely to hear more genuinely felt yet idiosyncratic renditions of genuine English trad songs, alongside affectionate and yes, idiosyncratic, original compositions aplenty and some universe-expanding (and again, suitably idiosyncratic) instrumental excursions. Folk, rock, morris, prog, exotic world musics, performance poetry, Beatles, Stackridge, paying the sincerest homage to all. And all strangely strange but oddly normal. And there’s a surprise round every corner!

Take Blackwaterside, which moves in processional from eerie vocal rendition (guest Bella Gaffney on lead) to full-on electric guitar and violin rockout. (Now there’s a track to play to your friends!) Then the heart-rending My Dear Friend, whose backing moves from Strawberry Fields mellotron to full string section, and the rollicking title track with its honking saxes and rock’rollin’ twang guitars. The referentially titled, incredible-y prescient And This Was The 1950s views grey-tinted sepia-nostalgia through a twisted Hangman’s Beautiful filter. Then there’s cloppy, galumphing dance tune Old Hog, meandering eastern-promise curios RE1955 and Memsahib Waltz, and then “staring into the embers and remembering” on mini-epic The Last Days Of Steam Parts 2-5 (where’s Part 1? I hear you ask…) – a serious cornucopia of sonic shenanigans, making the kind of glorious racket that’s always filled my mind but my hands have been too clumsy to even attempt playing! Brilliant, eccentric – and enormous fun! – this CD’s The Essential Tim Moon, no less. So if you’ve not yet made his acquaintance, then here and now’s a good time and place to start!

Live 2017, subtitled The Higher The Fewer, is more of a connoisseur’s collection, yet it's still a veritable Moonfest (or should that be moonfeast?) in every respect, and as good a mop-up of live tapes as you’re likely to encounter. First there’s 17 tracks from The Beggars Folk Club at Patrington (June), then five from The Castle, Bradford (March). Disc 2, the generous bonus disc, throws us back to a gig at Manchester Uni in 1995, after which Tim treats us to sundry archive delights, rarities and demos of fairly recent vintage including a pared-down Last Days Of Steam and the trio of Remploy Project songs (with Jim Woodland). It’s all too much! Not for me tho’, for Tim moves nimbly (well that’s how it sounds!) among the Gallifrean gallimaufry of instruments extracted from his Tardis and positively crammed onto the stage. So be ye truly glad, for Tim’s music hath no ending. Shine on, you crazy Moon!

David Kidman