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Joan Crump of EDS

reviews Life's Eyes by George Papavgeris

For someone who came relatively late to songwriting, George Papavgeris has certainly made up for lost time. Life's Eyes is his seventh album in five years and, on balance, it seems that he must have been storing up everything he had to say for quite a while! While George is a fine singer, it is undoubtedly his songwriting skills which set him apart. The subject matter here is extremely varied and unpredictable: sardonic social commentary, beautiful evocations of other places and times, reflections on the passing of family members and friends, and even the tortured yet optimistic thoughts of a pre-op transsexual.

George's arrangements, ably assisted by his 'Los Marbles', Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, complement the songs very well. Personal favourites include the impossibly catchy 'Rozellas', with its exotic imagery and bossanova rhythms, and 'Upwind of Me', with its cheerfully subversive message contained in a somewhat scatological package! But I think my favourite song on the CD is 'Tsamiko' (or 'Dance of the Old Men'). It seems to encapsulate the qualities which characterise George's singing and performance: the song is a wonderful narrative of a Mediterranean scene, a memory from childhood which conjures up a very specific place and time, but there is something ineffably redolent of Englishness in the melody and the way in which the story is told. It's this seamless fusion of Greek and Anglo influences, overlaid with very fine storytelling, which sum up George Papavgeris's unique appeal.