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TOM BLISS - The Whisper

TOM BLISS - The Whisper
SLIP012

Regular readers will recall the recent series of articles by Tom Bliss on the craft of song writing. This CD gives evidence (if any were needed) that Tom knows how to put into practice the skills about which he writes so eloquently. With one exception the fifteen tracks on this album are either Bliss originals or what he refers to as ‘Bliss from Trad Sources’.  Here’s the clue, I think. In all cases it seems that the story is the driver of the song... whether from Tom’s own imagination or research of traditional or contemporary sources. There are highs and lows, as you might expect. The Bristol Lady is a traditional song that Tom felt was deficient in chorus and plot… so he added both to excellent effect. The Mighty Montague is an amusing enough acapella ditty about a skipper lacking navigation skills but it feels lightweight in comparison to some of the material here.

 There is a ‘bootleg’ recording of The Middle English (and Welsh) Pie from the wonderful storytelling Festival at the Edge which at the same time demonstrates a masterly facility with the English language and a joyous sense of words as a source of fun and play. A virtuoso performance indeed. Tom gets admirable help from the likes of Alex Birch (sax), Chris Parkinson (accordion) and others including young newcomer Ned Darlington on guitar, but there is no doubt that the songs themselves are the most important features of this CD. It would not surprise me to see other artists cover some of these songs in the future. I look forward to hearing what they make of them.

Phil Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.