Looking Both Ways

by George Papavgeris

Forward and astern. Traditional and modern. Strange and familiar. Night and day. Near and distant. Old and new. East and West. Young and old. Multiple perspectives, each with their validity yet each also limited in the view they can afford. And still many of us cling desperately to one or the other pretending to be seeing some universal Truth that excludes others. Most of my adult life I tried to fight such tendencies within myself, a fight that I will no doubt lose one day as ideas harden to keep pace with the arteries. But meanwhile I soldier on, always looking for new recruits to take up the cause of observing ourselves from the outside and smiling (lovingly, always lovingly) at our anthropocentric veneer of self-importance.

Who will take my shilling?



The flood of songs in 2001 and 2002 is down to a controlled trickle now (controlled? Whom am I kidding? I don’t control any of it). With my initial objective of leaving something behind pretty much achieved already, these days it is either wistfulness or anger that mostly move me to new efforts, and that may show in the contents of this, the eighth album in eight years. Either that, or I am getting older and more ornery – please spare me the answer!

Once more I have others to thank for dressing up my ideas ready for an outing: Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer are even closer friends now, and in the words of an American performer on the folk circuit “the act that has advanced the most in the last two years”, as their album “Gleowien” proves. Yet they still humbly take on the role of my “Los Marbles” every time and lug keyboards and double bass around for my sake, in addition to their usual vanful of guitars, nyckelharpa, accordeon, smallpipes etc. They continue dissecting professionally my East-influenced time signatures and harmonies, and improving my West-centred ones, and do it all with their signature smiles, enthusiasm and natural empathy for music. Paul Sartin adds character with fiddle, oboe and Chor Anglais. Pete Flood makes cajon, Iraqi frame-drum and Udu pot speak the words I couldn’t write. Stuart, Paula, Sarah and Kathryn Tindall, lift the harmonies to soaring heights like colourful, sparkling kites riding the breeze.

1 Handmedowns 
George Papavgeris 

Inspired by Mark Cohn's beautiful "The Things We Handed Down", this is a much more ascerbic (OK, bitter and twisted!) observation that so much we take for granted is indeed just that - handed down. 


2 Serendipity 
George Papavgeris 

Ode to fortuitous happenstance bringing people together for a song. We are all just passing through, but meanwhile… 

3 Daniel and Ayse 
George Papavgeris 

On cross-cultural relationships and the reactions to them from different sides of the generation gap, missing the real point. Dedicated to the memory of Ayse Ozdemir. 

4 Thieves of innocence 
George Papavgeris 

Re-recording of a 2002 song about the forcible use of children in armed conflict; something that has happened time and again throughout history and across the globe. And a lot nearer to you than you might think, though the most recent examples have been from the Congo. With thanks to Joe Dolce for his chiding 

5 Miracle of life 
George Papavgeris 

Celebration of that which is all around us, yet we take so little notice of. Nothing is lost, not even when it is gone. Written for self-help reasons – to rationalise my becoming an orphan. It worked! 

6 Erotokritos 
George Papavgeris 

Translation of an excerpt from the traditional Cretan epic poem of the same name – this is The Parting, a well-known Greek traditonal song 

7 Love of a sort 
George Papavgeris 

Lunchtime observations at a Milton Keynes café. With my best wishes to the Unknown Couple. 

8 Rejection 
George Papavgeris 

A review of my generation's achievements in shaping our world. “This is another fine mess, JFK…” 

9 Street Life 
George Papavgeris 

Real images from a real street and real people, showing multiculturalism at work. With thanks to my neighbours for their inspiration and enthusiastic approval. My answer to the BNP. 

10 Life's dreams - The art of kite flying 
George Papavgeris 

The quality of dreams changing with age - hopeful, anxious, reflective, overlaid with real childhood memories of making and flying our own kites, watching them “carrying our dreams”. 

11 Azadeh 
George Papavgeris 

Based on the 'tweets' of a medical student, single parent (let's call him Muhammad), between Monday 15th and Friday 19th June 2009 during the protests following the Iranian Presidential elections. In his messages he referred to his daughter as Azadeh (Farsi for 'freedom fighter') - I believe the name was symbolic rather than actual, and therefore I also use it here with its double meaning. 

12 Hills Above the city 
George Papavgeris 

From the hills above the city, all its ills and problems are non-visible or insignificant. Distance is blind to ugliness and can give a false picture. A follow up to “Harbour lights”, in my head. 

13 When foxes rule the street 
George Papavgeris 

Late night town centre images. A logical follow up to “Anytown”, it highlights how we give up our domain for others to rule at night; how thin the veneer of our civilisation. 

14 The last song 
George Papavgeris 

"If this is the last song, don't let it be sad..." - closing song for a session. Or a life. Johnny, I promise to smile. 
Handmedowns
Inspired by Mark Cohn's beautiful "The Things We Handed Down"
Serendipity
Ode to fortuitous happenstance bringing people together for a song. We are all just passing through
Sample not available
Daniel and Ayse
On cross-cultural relationships and the reactions to them from different sides of the generation gap
Thieves of innocence
Re-recording of a 2002 song about the forcible use of children in armed conflict; something that has happened time and again throughout history and across the globe. And a lot nearer to you than you might think
Sample not available
Miracle of life
Celebration of that which is all around us
Sample not available
Erotokritos
Translation of an excerpt from the traditional Cretan epic poem of the same name – this is The Parting
Sample not available
Love of a sort
Lunchtime observations at a Milton Keynes café. With my best wishes to the Unknown Couple.
Rejection
A review of my generation's achievements in shaping our world. “This is another fine mess
Sample not available
Street Life
Real images from a real street and real people
Life's dreams - The art of kite flying
The quality of dreams changing with age - hopeful
Sample not available
Azadeh
Based on the 'tweets' of a medical student
Sample not available
Hills Above the city
From the hills above the city
Sample not available
When foxes rule the street
Late night town centre images. A logical follow up to “Anytown”
Sample not available
The last song
"If this is the last song, don't let it be sad..." - closing song for a session. Or a life. Johnny
Sample not available

folk Roundabout

David Kidman

This is master songwriter George's eighth CD of original compositions in not quite that exact number of years, and it's another stunner � although as always some of the songs may take a time to make their mark and reveal their true stature.

With the aid of a handful of excellent and exceedingly versatile fellow-musicians (Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, Paul Sartin, Pete Flood, the Tindall Family), George again paints thought-provoking and gently compelling pictures of our life and uncertain times, perceptively and unsentimentally observing with a keen eye for internal and external detail. The unifying theme of this latest collection is that of multiple perspectives, each of which can be seen to have its own validity; this approach can come into play in all manner of life experiences: from love to war, from street life to country life, from international politics to personal trials. And so George steers us engagingly from an appreciative hymn-like consideration of the Miracle Of Life to genially ponder the conundrum of Serendipity and more bitterly celebrate life's Handmedowns, then moves into the realms of social observation (Street Life, Love Of A Sort, Hills Above The City) before focusing in on the effects of cultural differences and baggage (Daniel And Ayse) and needless war (Azadeh, Thieves Of Innocence). Arguably the strongest item on this collection, however, is Life's Dreams/Kite Flying, a poignant �envelope� of two linked songs reflecting from different stages of a life. George hasn't neglected his Greek heritage either, for the most ambitious track, Erotokritos, is a translation-cum-paraphrase of an excerpt from the traditional Cretan epic poem of that name concerning the parting of lovers (this is accessible rather than esoteric, I hasten to add, and its only drawback for some might be its decidedly-non-toe-tapping 17/8 time-signature!).

Throughout the CD, George's singing is better than ever, and his playing � particularly on the twelve-string guitar � both accomplished and mellifluous, while the musical settings are increasingly imaginative, utilising piano, violin, oboe, cor anglais, nyckelharpa, accordion, whistle, double bass and percussion (albeit selectively deployed).

I must declare a small personal involvement in this CD (including acting in an advisory capacity at an early stage in the songs' composition) but on subsequently donning the magic cloak of impartiality I feel that the end result is one of George's most musically satisfying albums to date, even though it might not contain quite the usual quota of catchy choruses (that's not a complaint, just an observation). For that reason, it may not be the album to introduce George's fine body of work to the first-time listener (except on a selective basis perhaps), but it does provide a good spread of the musical and thematic diversity of his output as well as a convincing ongoing statement of his personal integrity and deep-rooted humanity. Not to underestimate the aforementioned contributions from George's fellow-musicians who clearly hold him in great regard. And finally, a mention for the attractive and intelligently realised artwork.

Moors Magazine Netherlands

Holly Moors

For a singer/songwriter a guitar is no longer sufficient, if he really wants his songs to be shown in the best light.  A good arrangement is then essential. George Papavgeris understands this well, because his arrangements truly add to his songs, and not just the instrumental arrangements, but also the polyphonic singing that makes the refreins of his beautiful, melodic songs so irresistible.

Papavgeris is a traveller, that seems to consider Europe his home country with England as his base nowadays. He began writing songs only seven years ago and made his first album only five years ago. This is his seventh album, and the second for Wild Goose, and also the first I have heard about, and I was immediately charmed by the man and his music. Warm, friendly songs, intelligent lyrics, beautiful arrangements with unusual instruments such as an Oboe, udu or a nyckelharpa and melodies that in a lovely way come to nestle in your head.

Highly recommended.

Three Shires

Mike Blair

All too often, when solo singers make the almost irresistible transition to something fuller and more complex, it signals a loss of their very essense.  But not for George.

In this, his 8th album in as many years, the fat Greek (his term, not mine) adds a brilliant feel for orchestration to his legendary mastery of rhyme and rhythm.  Paul Sartin, Pete Flood, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, with 12 very different instruments between them, provide a rich variety of sounds and rhythms, as appropriate and precise as George's words. Add to this the Tindall family chorus, and the whole is exactly the sum of its very talented parts.

The 14 songs are as perceptive and beautifully crafted as ever.  George's theme of multi-culturalism is admirably expressed in Daniel & Ayse and Street Life, both rhythmically ornate. The answer to the simple thought �exactly what have we achieved?� is disturbingly accurate in Rejection; and the way distance hides reality perfectly summed up in his typically anti-urban song Hills above the City.

On the lighter side, Serendipity is a deceptively simple exploration of how sheer chance brings people together. And his observation of an inferred lovers' tryst over a cup of coffee, Love of a Sort, is superb � a sort of MJQ meets Jake Thackray, with Jonny Dyer's Take 5 keyboard accompaniment.

Enough said � just buy it. You won't be disappointed.

R2 (RocknReel)

Dai Jeffries

George Papavgeris is a songwriter and singer that other songwriters and singers tip their metaphorical hats to. This is his eighth album and the chances are you've never heard of him. I certainly hadn't until a couple of years ago. George is Greek by birth and English by residence. His music carries the sounds of the eastern Mediterranean and the feel of a British folk club with enough of an accent to sound exotic and distinctive.

If you want to know why he's so admired, two songs in this set will convince you. The first is 'Daniel & Ayse', the story of two teenagers whose love ignores the religious divide between them. It's simple, moving, a modern take on a story that's centuries old. The second is 'Thieves Of Innocence' about the forced use of children as soldiers � you know where. The other aspect of George's songwriting is the observation of ordinary lives and 'Love Of A Sort' and 'Street Life' are both scenes from life's play.

The supporting cast includes Paul Sartin and Pete Flood, whose hand percussion is key to the feel of the music, with Vicki Swan's bass and Jonny Dyer's keyboards essential ingredients. Above all, however, stands George Papavgeris and his songs.



Mardles

Colin Cater

This album is produced to a splendidly high standard throughout, with excellent contributions from Vicki Swan and Johnny Dyer, Paul Sartin, Pete Flood and the Tindalls as backing singers supporting an original collection of George's songs all presented in an easy relaxed manner ? a sort of Anglo?Mediterranean fusion music.

In the last decade George has risen to prominence both as singer and writer. He's no mean musician either. Like many singer songwriters he mainstreams on a combination of politics and relationships, again easy to hear ? the sort of thing anyone might find themselves thinking, songs for the man in the street. But is it a good idea to listen to the words too closely? Do the writer's insights match the ease of presentation? George's politics appear very personal and it's often easier to identify what he doesn't like than what he actually stands for or believes in. In some of the 'issue' songs, particularly Daniel and Ayse and Thieves of Innocence life threatening situations are sold a long way short. But surely tolerance (Street Life) and love of life itself (Life's Dreams ? The art of Kite Flying) are things worth celebrating.

Is the trick with this album, and perhaps with the singer himself, to turn off the critical faculty and bask in the husky glow of emotions that many of us feel regularly in our ordinary everyday lives?

Folk London

Brian Cope

Looking Both. Ways is the eighth CD by singer songwriter extraordinaire George Papavgeris and once again he proves himself to be a perceptive observer, interpreter and chronicler of 21st century life and times.

The common thread of the CD, referred to in the album's notes, is the concept of Multiple Perspectives, each with their own validity yet each also limited in the view they can afford. Throughout the fourteen tracks he reflects upon a multiplicity of themes, supported by a group of versatile musicians including Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, Paul Sartin, Peter Flood and the Tindall Family, whose various talents are utilized to support imaginative, considered arrangements.

Opening with the somewhat cynical 'Handmedowns' George's observations range between love and war and social and cultural differences all delivered unsentimentally, with sincerity and passion. The anthem like quality of  'Miracle of Life' the deceptive simplicity of 'Love of a Sort' the bigotry and intolerance surrounding 'Daniel & Eyse' and the celebration of the commonplace `Street Life ' is recorded by George with detailed reverence. With more than a nod to his Greek roots 'Erotokritos' ' is a translation by George of an excerpt from the traditional Cretan epic poem about the parting of lovers put to a traditional Cretan tune. George has also included a reworking of his powerful song `Thieves Innocence ' from an earlier album `Life As Usual '. Sadly this denunciation of the militarisation of children in armed conflict remains all too relevant. The quality of dreams changing with age, captured in `Life's Dreams - The Art of Kite Flying' has become my favourite track, on what has proved to be an absorbing, thought provoking collection of songs, with the memorial fnal track `The Last Song' destined I'm sure, to bring to a close many a wonderful session.

Shreds & Patches

Chris (Yorkie) Bartram

George Papavgeris is one of the best songwriters in the English language � and quite a nice singer too.  I had the great pleasure of meeting and talking with him at Shrewsbury festival last year.  He told me that he had just completed another CD and was very pleased with it. He thought it was the best CD he has made (and he's made quite a few).

Well, here it is � and he's right.  It is a fabulous collection of the best songs he's written with wonderful arrangements played by some of the finest musicians on the English folk scene (Paul Sartin, pete Flood, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer with the Tindall family adding backing vocals).  There's a couple of tracks that reflect George's Greek roots and the accompanists sound utterly authentically Mediterranean.

George writes, in the sleeve-notes, about �observing ourselves from the outside and smiling (lovingly, always lovingly) at our anthropocentric veneer of self-importance�.  I think that just about sums it up.  As I said in a review of his earlier CD, �He loves life � and writers � and sings � his love�.

But, strangely, I think the best track is one that I wish I'd never heard!  It's a re-recording of his 2002 song, Thieves of Innocence, about children forced to join armed militias �and a lot nearer than you might think�.  It is the bleakest song I've ever heard.  An horrifically truthful summary of aappalling and continuing cruelty.  It makes me weep and I think it should be known by everyone � yet, at the same time, I wish it could be forgotten!  A truly great song.

There are several other tracks that will certainly become well-known session songs with tgheir catchy tunes and wise words.  There's a lovely song about cross-cultural love and another about neighbours and neighbourliness which George says is, �My answer to the BNP�.

And finally, the CD is dedicated to Johnny Collins who, I think, would have embraced these songs with all his heart and soul.  Put it at the top of your shopping list.

Tykes News

Jim Ellison

The words continue to pour out of George Papavgeris. His Biro bill must be huge, as huge as his heart and his emotional empathy. No subject is insignificant; the meanest relationship gets the full, thoughtful, wordy treatment. As in �Love Of A Sort�, which was triggered by seeing a couple in a caf� in Milton Keynes, weaving a whole world of dreams and expectations on the flimsiest of observations. Super imagination.

He still uses his six- and twelve-string guitars to great effect, the sound robust and filling. At times they also sound like accordion, double bass, whistle, fiddle, nyckelharpa� huh! nyckelharpa? Oh wait, that must be George's supergroup, Los Marbles, who are Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, augmented on here by Paul Sartin (oboe, cor anglais and fiddle), Pete Flood (percussion) and The Tyndall family (Stuart, Paula, Kathryn and Sarah on voice). Garn George, that's a lot of people for a solo album, but it right proper works.

�Miracle Of Life� is a hymn-like view on life and nature as art and emotion which could have sunk in saccharin, but the tune, following the well tried � one syllable to one note � method, and Jonny's organ-like keyboards lift it, while the Tindalls firm it up with a wall amount of chorus. He's lucky to have this reservoir of talent on tap and, as the sleeve notes make clear, to share in the arranging.

In re-recording his 2002 �Thieves Of Innocence� (a pure Papavgeris song about the forcible use of children in armed conflict) he is re-telling us how it has been and how it still is, and that it's closer to home than we realise. He writes these flowers for us to place in gun-barrel ideas. I love songs like �Serendipity�. They're just snapshots in time, given existence by the art of music, fleeting meetings fixed in rhyme and combined, by people on the same wavelength, into corporeal reality for as long as the song is sung � pass it on.

The last song is �The Last Song� (which made me grin), and when the massed ensemble had finished with it, I was still grinning. The only thing wrong with this track is its length; 2:59 is far too short for such a singable chorus �So join in the chorus, let voices go free. If this is the last song, then sing it with me�; another two of them on the end, � la Sheffield carols, would be just right. Not to worry though, I've fixed it in iTunes.

Green Man

Peter Massey

George Papavgeris was born in Salonika, Greece, but now living in Middlesex, England. 'Singing the praises of ordinary people'- his motto. George Papavgeris is a singer songwriter with an edge of indifference, his Greek parentage and culture echoes in his tunes. George sings and plays acoustic guitar. He is aided on these recordings by: Vicki Swan (double bass, whistle, and nyckelharpa); Jonny Dyer (guitar, accordion and keyboards); Paul Sartin (fiddle, oboe, and cor anglais); Peter Flood (cajon, Iraqi frame drum, and Udu pot); and The Tindalls supplying vocals.

George's songs are very meaningful -- more so to him. But on the way, they do make good listening. Songs about inner thoughts, experiences, and emotions are always an acquired taste and very subjective. On the whole I liked the album. A couple of the songs are worth an extra mention. They are the opening tack 'Handmedowns' a song about so much we take for granted in this life, things that are indeed just - handed down. A strong song at track 4 is 'Thieves of Innocence' very topical at this time, is about the forcible use of children in armed conflict; recent examples in the Congo. It is something that has happened time and time throughout history. It is nearer to you than you think; the bitterness in Northern Ireland is one example. On a lighter note, a lovely song on the next track is 'Miracle of Life' a celebration of that which is all around us, yet we take so little notice of.

Singer songwriters are owning up for prosperity, putting their soul on record in their music. It has been said that English folk club audiences will listen to paint drying and give it applause -- they are so bloody polite! Heaven knows, even I am guilty of putting out and singing some utter diatribe in the past! It seemed a good idea at the time! I firmly believe that every songwriter has at least one or two really good songs that stand out and cut across the average.

So there you have it, singer songwriters -- love them or hate them. George Papavgeris, for me is one that is worth listening to. You can buy this album on line here.

EDS

Dave Eyre

Singer-songwriter George Papavgeris will be familiar to many, and those who have seen him perform at club or festival will be delighted with the chance to purchase another record demonstrating his prolific talents. There seems to be a new CD each year and, consistently, there is a step-change upwards and onwards. If you haven't seen George perform, then this CD will give you an idea of his musical and literary accomplishments.



His songs undoubtedly scratch the emotions and, in that sense, this record follows a familiar pattern. Shining forth is the great skill of saying so much so quickly.  As well as the heart-tugging of 'Serendipity' (superb keyboards by Jonny Dyer) there is also the acute observation of an older couple in a caf� in the song 'Love of a Sort'. How violence begets violence, and how the cycle develops in wartime, but also perhaps in peacetime, is told in the song 'Thieves of Innocence'. The figure of Janus dominates the cover of the CD, and here is a clue to the appeal of the material. The perspective offered is one where the songs he makes are personal to him, and at the same time they are personal to you, and this shines through the record like a golden sunset through a window.

There are plenty of instruments used sparingly in the accompaniments, and George's own guitar playing deserves a mention too. Special credit goes to Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer (Los Marbles) and to the additional vocals of the Tindall family. A couple of the songs have a distinctive eastern shape and sound and at least one has a very unusual time signature. When you feel the need to get up and dance along, it's that one!! Finally and as ever, quality recording and presentation from the Wildgoose label.

Whats Afoot

John Blackburn.

George Papavgeris is one of the most prolific songwriters around. To see him in performance is to experience his warm , friendly personality, and his deep love and concern for his fellow human beings.

Many of George's songs are based on his personal recollections and observations on life: this CD

is no exception. The songs in this compilation accurately reflect the title, Looking Both Ways

They look at both sides of a situation,the positive and negative, the long and the short, the right and the wrong.

His economical and unobtrusive guitar style complements the songs perfectly, and his choice of accompanists is impeccable, with Paul Sartin on oboe, fiddle and cor anglais, Pete Flood on percussion, Vicki Swann on double bass, whistle and nyckelharpe, Johnny Dyer on guitar, accordion and keyboards, with vocals beautifully supplemented by the Tindalls.  The songs range in mood from The Miracle of Life a celebration of the wonderful things around us that we often take for granted, to Thieves of Innocence, a lament for the children who are forcibly used in armed conflict, to Street Life, which takes a very positive look at multiculturalism.

George's songs are personal and thought provoking without the introspection and navelgazing that is often present in the work of some singer/songwriters. My personal favourite, Hills Above the City , has a catchy tune, and takes a look at the fact that distance lends enchantment.  Each of the fourteen tracks has something of significance to say , and it would do George a great disservice to play this CD simply as background music. Buy it, and by really listening to these songs without distraction you will enjoy them more and more each time you hear them.  It's a great CD, demonstrating not only his songwriting ability, but also his musicianship, warmth and performing skills . It is surpassed only by a live performance from George.  

Taplas

Andy Piper

YOU must know George Papavgeris. He regularly appears at festivals, is often found performing his 'guy-in-the-street' songs accompanied by a Greek-flavoured guitar in more intimate venues. On this latest in a series of steadily improving releases, he is joined by Paul Sartin and label-mates Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, amongst others, adding depth and colour to his sometimes starkly monochromatic stories, such as Rejection and Thieves of Innocence, a moving tale of an African child soldier.

His songs are mostly about life observations and, while he notices joy and sadness in mundane matters like HandMeDowns, dull he isn't. Fittingly, the album ends with a tribute to his friend, the late Johnny Collins, in a sing-along celebration The Last Song, and as all fans of Collins will know, "there's nothing sadder than singing alone".

Unicorn

Mike Blair

All too often, when solo singers make the almost irresistible transition to something fuller and more complex, it signals a loss of their very essence. But not for George.

In this, his 8th album in as many years, the fat Greek (his term, not mine) adds a brilliant feel for orchestration to his legendary mastery of rhyme and rhythm. Paul Sartin, Pete Flood, Vicky Swan and Jonny Dyer, with 12 very different instruments between them, provide a rich variety of sounds and rhythms, as appropriate and precise as George's words. Add to this the Tindall family chorus, and the whole is exactly the sum of its very talented parts.

The 14 songs are as perceptive and beautifully crafted as ever. George's theme of mufti-culturalism is admirably expressed in Daniel & Ayse and Street Life, both rhythmically ornate. The answer to the simple thought "exactly what have we achieved?" is disturbingly accurate in Rejection; and the way distance hides reality perfectly summed up in his typically anti-urban song Hills above the City.

On the lighter side, Serendipity is a deceptively simple exploration of how sheer chance brings people together. And his observation of an inferred lovers tryst over a cup of coffee, Love of a Sort, is superb - a sort of MJQ meets Jake Thackaray, with Jonny Dyer's Take 5 keyboard accompaniment.

Enough said - just buy it. You won't be disappointed.

The Living Tradition

Dave Beeby

It's hard to believe that George Papavgeris only started writing songs less than 10 years ago. Hard to believe as he has in that time produced eight albums and has enough new material for number nine. Hard to believe because, from what I have heard, they are of a high standard and are being sung by the likes of Roy Bailey, Andy Irvine, Vin Garbutt and Jim Causley.

On Looking Both Ways he is joined by Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, Paul Sartin and the Tindall family. Much of the feel of this CD is provided by the hand percussion of Pete Flood, but it is the distinctive clarity of George's vocals and a deceptively simple guitar style that stand out. The songs move from the celebration of life to social observation, from the problems surrounding cultural differences to the pointlessness of war, whilst retaining his Greek heritage.

He is not afraid to tackle difficult and sensitive subjects and Thieves Of Innocence is about the forced taking of children into armies and their transformation into killing machines � made all the more poignant as it is written in the first person. However, George always seems to retain his optimism so this is followed by Miracle Of Life, almost hymn like, encouraging us to celebrate life, something the child soldiers in the previous song are taught not to do.

The final track, aptly called The Last Song of Looking Both Ways seems to sum up the whole CD imploring us �if this is the last song to join in the chorus and let voices go free� and sing it with him. Somehow I don't think it will be George's last song.