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GORDON GILTRAP As It Happens Voiceprint VP458CD (2009)

Gordon Giltrap

An intimate gathering at the Dorchester Arts Centre in January 2007 is the setting for a two hour concert and demonstration from one of the UK's finest acoustic guitar exponents.

This gig has the feeling of a masterclass, with Giltrap's relaxed banter and superlative playing in what is essentially a career overview. The only criticism might be that he has revisited these tunes on CD on several occasions and first-time buyers should be cautious and seek out the several other compilations for comparison especially if you don't want the banter. Unfortunately the banter is a bit low in the mix and there's a lot of it. (In the case of the introduction to 'Heartsong', nearly four minutes).

What this two disc album does is confirm Giltrap's stature as one of the true acoustic guitar giants and, who knows, it could inspire a long overdue re-evaluation of his work which spans the folk clubs in the sixties, to prog rock with his electric band in the seventies, to his recent collaboration with Rick Wakeman.

'The Dodo's Dream' (originally on the album 'Peacock Party') is a particular tour de force with deft use of effects and merits a whole demo sequence on the second disc. And anyone who fuses the National Anthem with Smoke On the Water gets our vote.


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Review by David Randall

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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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