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GERRY HALLOM "On the Periphery" WBMCD001

Gerry Hallom has produced a fine CD comprising nine of his own songs plus three others. The songs are thoughtful, intelligent, atmospheric - but all are accessible. They are simply delivered with Gerry's voice at the front, which is just as it should be as it is the words which are important. All the songs tell a story, maybe an event or a mood, and seem to be used to make a point. I'm not going to fall into the trap of trying to give my interpretations as, with any good poetry or song, this would be personal and probably different to what was intended.

What I will say is that there is a feeling of optimism in "Come Down Days", which changes to hopelessness in "Lisbon Song". I was reduced to tears at the end of "Myra's Children" in which the song is sung from one of the children's point of view. I like the way he subtly changes the pace of songs, uses choruses where we might not expect them and holds onto words - all devices to make us listen. Make no mistake you have to listen, this is in no way 'wallpaper' music.

All the way through the songs remind me of one of our finest songwriters, the great Bill Caddick. That's not to say he sounds like Bill but that Gerry can write fine songs.

When I got "On the Periphery" my attention was drawn to the names of Pete Cooper, Nic Jones, Lal Waterson and Andy Irvine, expecting their contributions to be the highlights of the CD. Whilst the arrangements and backing vocals help to make this a good CD, it is the quality of the songs and Gerry Hallom's delivery which stand out. Andy Irvine's harmonica is brilliant though.

You can probably guess that I rate Gerry Hallom's "On the Periphery". Well worth a listen.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 29 of The Living Tradition magazine.