Richard Dawson

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Sings Songs and Plays Guitar (2007), 5/10
Motherland (2008), 5/10
The Magic Bridge (2011), 6/10
The Glass Trunk (2013), 6.5/10
Nothing Important (2014), 7/10

English guitarist and singer Richard Dawson debuted quite unremarkably with Kevin Coyne with an atonal acoustic guitar Sings Songs and Plays Guitar (Downbeat, 2007), a collection of simple songs (the standout being perhaps the rather conventional romantic serenade I Will Make It Up To You which is almost reminiscent of Kenny Rogers).

He then composed Motherland (Pink Triangle, 2008), the soundtrack to a theatrical play, that attempts a broader spectrum of styles, even including a dance-club pulsation in Gravel Flame to accompany a shamanic invocation.

Dawson stretched the duration of his songs on The Magic Bridge (Pink Triangle, 2011), but the duration is pretty much the only thing that stands out. The likes of Man Has Been Struck Down By Hands Unseen require a lot of patience.

The concept The Glass Trunk (2013) was inspired by the historical archive of a museum. The main change in Dawson's music consisted in drafting a number of collaborators, ranging from vocalists to harp players.

That experience somehow caused a dramatic shift in style. The two juggernauts of Nothing Important (Weird World, 2014) are sandwiched between the gloriously cubistic blues lament Judas Iscariot, definitely worthy of Captain Beefheart, and the Zen-like instrumental Doubting Thomas, both titled after the Gospels. Past the tedious and self-indulgent 16-minute litany of Nothing Important (which, at best, offers, midway, a brief guitar solo that is actually melodic and folkish a` la Leo Kottke, and then another delightful guitar solo 12'30" into the song), one reaches the real highlight, the 16-minute The Vile Stuff in which rabid guitar riffs and voodoo beat prop up a king of melismatic singing that was more typical of the Canterbury school's prog-rock than of folk troubadours, and whose finale's mind-bending cacophony could be the starting point for another album.

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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