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JACK SAVORETTI Between the Minds Deluxe Edition
De Angelis DAR 11CD (2008)

Jack Savoretti

Other than the recent parallel career moves by the likes of McCartney, Dylan and Joni Mitchell and their rush to embrace coffee corporations in an attempt to find new ways to market their music, you can't help but wonder wonder if the idea of a troubadour touring the coffee houses of Britain is part of a greater plan to return folk singing back to its late 60's habitat?

Either way, by fault or design Jack Savoretti seems to have taken the right career move in bringing his deeply emotive singer-song writer fare to a new potential audience who like to listen to cogent narratives of the heart over their coffee.

From the outside his two month tour of Caffe Republic franchises seems to be an even smarter move than it initially appears. In truth troubadours like Jack would probably have struggled to generate the price of a cup of coffee let alone entertain the customers were it not for the likes of Coldplay and Jeff Buckley bringing the art of the story teller back into vogue.

And while Jack manages to forge his own identity on the 13 track strong 'Between the Minds' there are plenty of familiar musical antecedents with nods in the direction of the fragile voice of Nick Drake ('Killing Man' and 'Apologies'), the more obviously the melancholy of Coldplay ('Between the Minds') and the single 'Without' which also references Michael Stype from REM.

That said, the album's highlights tend to be his solo efforts such as 'Once Upon A Street' which borrows its structures from Dylan but delivers a love song all of his own, while the introspective soul searching of 'Chemical Courage' includes a rare moment when Jack strains his vocals in an emotional charge.

This deluxe edition double CD pack gives the listener the opportunity to play the whole thing back to front - starting with just Jack his guitar and songs unplugged - and see how his songs stand up on their own without the eloquent air brush production. And stand up they do, though you have to be pred isposed to some emotional inner turmoil and poignant lyrics that populate songs like 'Lucy'.

In fact stripped to the bone songs like 'Killing Man' and the clever vocal delivery of 'Blackrain' stand out whatever the arrangement. And in main body of the album the arrangements are never less than delicate, intuitive and overall impressive, but it's the heartfelt lyrics of a natural wordsmith that hold sway.

Given the biting reflections in songs like 'Soldier's Eyes' you wonder about the suitability of the current tour's environment. But then again we're talking a new generation of coffee houses as the generic home of folk music and with this double CD Jack is handily placed to cultivate a whole new generation of fans.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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