Size: 66.4 MB
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
I recently obtained this CD after owning the original album upon it's release. Claire Hamill is a contemporary of mine, originating, like so many capable and talented musicians, from the North East of England. Like another Northeasterner, Chris Rea, Claire comes from Middlesbrough on the third of the the great North Eastern Rivers, the Tees.
The cover of this album portrays the artist amidst the artifacts of the industrial north east, an image hardly recognisable these days as industry has long since gone and services have taken over.
The industrial backdrop permeates this album, indeed it is infused throughout. In the first song, Baseball Shoes, Claire laments her loved one's desire for baseball shoes that she has. Today, an ordinary pair costs about five pounds but a brand like converse charges upwards of eighteen! What is clear is the image of poverty that this song represents. Wanting even a pair of baseball shoes comes higher up the priority list than love which comes free. But even so the singer would give up her shoes in return for his love.
Whilst the songs themselves carry images aplenty of a simplicity of life they also carry messages of hope and inspiration. Two of my favourites in this regard are When I was A Child, which marks the transition from an age of innocence into adult life after meeting a significant other. The other, Smile Your Blues Away, offers the benefits of a positive attitude and could almost have been written for the Dalai Lama!
What is remarkable about this album is firstly Claire's voice, clear and pur with a good range. The second thing is more of a complimentarity and that is the sheer breadth of the music contained within the album, with the exquisite orchestration, masterful guitar playing of John Martyn the maestro, a country and western style song to name just three. Guests abound including the aforesaid Martyn but also David Lindley, Terry Reid and others but they supplement Claire's vocals and playing rather than supplant them.
This is a powerful introduction to Claire Hamill and an outstanding first album. She may have disappeared off the map a little these days but she is still around and with albums like this deserves a little more acclaim. ["Junglies" - Amazon.com]
01. Baseball Blues 4:21
02. The Man Who Cannot See Tomorrows Sunshine 2:42
03. Consumation 2:19
04. The River Song 4:19
05. Where Are Your Smiles At 2:23
06. When I Was A Child 2:14
07. Urge For Going 6:50
08. Flowers For Grandma 1:42
09. The Phoenix 2:42
10. Smile Your Blues Away 2:20
11. Alice In The Streets Of Darlington (Bonus Track) 4:29
12. Meet Me On The Corner (Bonus Track - Previously Unreleased) 3:42