Review: David Philips – If I Had Wings

Posted on: Friday, Feb 20, 2015

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David Philips – If I Had Wings

(Black & Tan CD BT 041)

A rather stunning set this – UK singer and guitarist David is based in Spain and records for this forward-looking Dutch blues label. This is his fourth album, “the one I always wanted to make”, the blurb says. I can believe the hype though – the opening track, ‘Angel’ makes for an effective introduction, a very expressive blend of blend of folk, rock, blues and jazz with the makings of a classic, and David plays all instruments, as he does throughout the album, with the exception of drums and saxophone on the lengthy ‘Venomous Soul’.

In fairness, I must point out that not a single track here will come under a purist’s strict definition of “blues” – about the nearest is ‘Quiet’ which made me think of Bob Dylan’s associates The Band; it bookends a passage more akin to Pink Floyd. Mind you, the tough, jagged Americana of ‘That Dirty Road’ could easily sneak onto a modern blues album without comment – except maybe something praising its quality – and the beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental ‘Samuel Saves The World’ is reminiscent of John Renbourn.

The set closes out with a fairly straight jazzy ballad! Throughout the album, David’s soulful voice and his nifty finger-picked guitar work bear traces of the blues, though they also contain greater or smaller amounts of the singer-songwriter approach, psychedelic folk, even a little electronica.

If you like good, meaningful music anyway, you’ll go for this. Beautifully recorded too, by the way.

NORMAN DARWEN

http://www.davidphilips.net/

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