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Ernie Graham - Self Titled LP
180 gram vinyl reissue.
4 Men With Beards
This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful solo albums to come out of the whole English pub rock scene, and references to Bob Dylan and the Band are appropriate because the rootsy/folk-like intersections with their work are here. It's also a rival to the best work of Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe, Eggs Over Easy, et al. (and no surprise -- the Brinsleys played on this album). Opening with the gorgeous, Dylanesque "Sebastian," built on a lyrical acoustic guitar part, Graham reveals himself a songwriter and player of extraordinary sensitivity -- he might easily have been another Alan Hull, or even bigger than that, had he been able to join a band with legs or hold his own career together. As it is, from that Dylan-like start, he and the Brinsleys deliver a brace of full electric numbers that rival the classic sound of the Band, starting with "So Lonely" -- the roots rock sound here is so authentically American that it will fool lots of listeners about its origins and source. For this album, "The Girl That Turned the Lever" and "For a Little While" are two of the finest working-class/folk-style compositions this side of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Blues to Snowy" takes Graham into Lynyrd Skynyrd territory. "Belfast" finally takes listeners to Graham's real roots, in a bracing, fiddle-driven folk-based piece from that side of the Atlantic.