Dave Beeby of The Living Tradition
reviews Looking Both Ways by George PapavgerisIt’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.