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Jim Ellison of Tykes News

reviews Looking Both Ways by George Papavgeris

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 café 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, à la Sheffield carols, would be just right. Not to worry though, I’ve fixed it in iTunes.