Tony HazzardTony Hazzard
Album: The Hallicombe Sessions
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

First of all let's get the back story out of the way. In the Sixties Tony Hazzard was responsible for several Top 20 hits. Songs like Ha Ha Said the Clown and Fox On The Run were among the many hits recorded by artists such as Andy Williams, The Hollies, Manfred Mann and The Yardbirds.

After a long break from the music business, Tony released his first album in 35 years, Songs From The Lynher in 2011.

The Hallicombe Sessions were recorded last summer after a chance meeting with American songwriter and produced Matt Harding.

Matt encouraged Tony to record a stripped down un-plugged style of album and now we can hear the results.

Recorded in just over a week, the album features a collection of old and new songs.

Tony says: "We'd record a take, then go outside, sit in the sun and chat. Matt fell in love with Cornish beer, Cornish pubs and the British sense of humour."

In the sleeve notes, Tony said Matt wanted a live performance, raw and real, with flaws and all.

The album is all the better for that. There is a refreshing honesty in the way the songs are recorded. Most are just Tony and guitar, with the occasional foray on the ukulele. Arrangements are sparse with occasional bass guitar and percussion.

It starts with a new song - The Spice Trader - a sensual tale about an 18 Century spice trader with a tasty finger-picked accompaniment.

Loving On the Run was written many years ago but Tony admits he's forgotten the third and fourth verses, so he wrote new ones. Switching to the ukulele, the raw sound giving the song added poignancy.

Journey's End was first recorded in 1976 and is a mainly autobiographical tale of a singer's life on the road.

Angela Finkleman's Eyes is based on true events in Tony's childhood. Ah, those sultry days of innocence.

Tony's songwriting shows a lot of versatility and perception. I particularly enjoyed Shipping Lanes - a song about a couple going in different directions.

A song from the Sixties studio floor finally makes itself heard. She's Not You was written at a time when songwriters were churning out potential hit after hit. Some made it, some fell way the wayside. It's a charming lilting tune.

Old Wave was first recorded in 1983 and is a riposte to New Wave. With Seventy Not Out Tony nails his colours to the mast - it's a bawdy, lively tune that basically shouts there is plenty of life in this old dog.

The hymn-like I'll Be Still In Love With You is played on a nylon strung guitar with a great sense of purpose. Charming.

Another Day For Me is a new song that will strike a chord with many. Looking back to the past and but celebrating the fact that we are still here and going strong.

Yes Tony is still here with us. This is an eclectic mix of songs that will serve him well. A really enjoyable album.

John Knighton