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AL STEWART Uncorked (Live with Dave Nachmanoff) (2010)

Al Stewart

Since rising to prominence as part of the late sixties / early seventies folk / rock cross over scene, Al Stewart has become something of an institution.

Perhaps best known for his commercial success with Year Of The Cat (1976) and the follow up Time Passages (1978), he's rubbed shoulders with many of the greats down the years, not to mention playing the very first Glastonbury festival in 1970.

Uncorked is his first live acoustic album since 1992's Rhymes In Rooms, and it's a 'corker'. Ably abetted by long-time sidekick Dave Nachmanoff, the Californian multi instrumentalist and singer song writer, it's just tow guys and two acoustics digging deep into The Al Stewart back catalogue.

The first thing to mention is the sound quality which is crisp, clean and has a wonderful clarity. Second is Stewart's vocal prowess which, unlike many of his peers, has lost none of its range over the past 40 plus years. The guy still sounds like a young man. And thirdly, the stunning exchanges of fret board dexterity between Stewart and Nachmanoff playing in a Rodrigo Y Gabriela style.

Of course none of this would matter if the songs were naff, and the set list has been carefully chosen to avoid overlap with previous live offerings and delves back as far as his 1967 debut Bedsitter Images. Aficionados will not be disappointed. Such is the simplicity, quality and depth, that you can't help but think how much some of today's young pretenders could benefit from listening to a master of his craft at the peak of his abilities.


Review by Pete Whalley


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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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