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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Album Review: Larry Mindel – Love In Troubled Times

Larry Mindel (voice); Liam Stevens (piano); JJ Stillwell (bass); Callum Smith (drums); Ben Treacher (sax); Geoffrey Richardson (strings, woodwind); Rebecca Phillips, Francesca Raimondi (backing singers)

This is Larry Mindel's second album, nine original songs recorded in 2020 under the restraints of lockdown, covering themes of love, loss and longing, with lyrics which evoke a sense of various landscapes of the countryside, Suffolk, Australia, the Hebrides.


Mr Mindel began his musical life in the folk clubs of south east England and also the jazz venues of Soho. After a break he took up music again in 2004, sharing the songs he'd written with friends and performing regularly in England, Europe and the Antipodes. This CD was recorded using mainly acoustic instruments.


'Stars In the sky tonight

Float past the quiet moon

Your footsteps forever in the grass

Where the wild orchids bloom'


These lyrics are from the last track, Be Careful How You Go, which was written when visiting his mother in hospital on the day before she died. There is an accompanying video of family memories which is very moving and the song title is inspired by some of the words his mother used to say. This is by far the best track of an album, about which I have to say I had mixed feelings.


Although the music claims to have folk and jazz influences, I could hear very few traditional folk elements, unless you count storytelling lyrics as 'folk', but that applies to many types of music. The most jazz-like track was Brave, with lively, low, pounding chords on piano, underpinning the voice, then a skilled sax solo, followed by piano and drums together, very tasty jazz. 


The other seven tracks were closer to what I'd say was middle of the road, very pleasant music, but not necessarily what jazz or folk listeners want. The ideas behind the songs are interesting. Lowland Love concerns the mysterious disappearance of a student, and is enhanced by music from the strings. Take A Rest At My Door has a gospel tune and backing singers.


Lemon, about a trip away, is made interesting by a sax solo; In The Undergrowth is a bit more jazz-like, with a short bass and piano duo and a B3 sound, presumably from a keyboard. Deep Water concerns a love affair; Time To Fall tells of an older couple falling in love and I Love Paris In July speaks for itself.


The album is available now digitally. See www.larrymindel.com


Lowland Love; Take A Rest At My Door; Lemon; Deep Water; In The Undergrowth; I Love Paris In July; Time To Fall; Brave; Be Careful How You Go.
 


Ann Alex


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