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COLIN PITTS "Looking for England" Own Label CPR003

Best known on the scene in Birmingham and the West Midlands for many a long year as a journeyman guitar/songster rather than an innovative experimenter, Colin Pitts is, I suspect immune to the vagaries of fashion and presents an album fairly representative of his current live set - largely self-written vignettes, occasionally coloured with regret for the passing of a post-1945 time that isn't coming back. Assuredly earnest and without ever wallowing in archetypal singer/songwriter self pity, contained here are flitting soap opera sketches as with "Newcomers" based on statements of a new town's residents, through everyday occurrences ("Gregory's Song") to the confessional. This latter is best represented by "The Fair Haired Boy" - a song where Colin talks to his mother who has Alzheimer's Disease which I found almost unbearably poignant but immensely moving sentiments such as this are so personal that perhaps they should have remained so?

Elsewhere the nostalgia is slapped on in "The Country Bus", the mood is stirring in "Run Katy Run" - a song about 18th century Gower wreckers, whilst the palatable "Golden Vanity" is the only trad.arr. outing on the CD. It's hard to dislike this release and compared to what is considered as "this year's model" it could be regarded as quaint and resolutely out of mode which isn't to say its intent and content aren't noble enough. There's no absence of substance - it's more than passable but very little lurks under the surface and it's unlikely to trouble Critics' Choice chart compilers. Not a major album but every Colin Pitts fan will want a copy.

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.