BMG [Release date 23.03.18]
‘Botanical Garden’ is Don McLean’s 19th album and the first in eight years, inspired by his walks around the gardens in Sydney, near the famous Opera House. Some of the songs on the album have been performed live over the past few years and the album is most probably one of his most personal to date in parts.
There is a lot of reflection on the album be it on the jaunty country tune ’Wavin’ Man’ or the mournful melody and vocal on ‘When July Comes’. The latter is McLean back at his best.
Elsewhere, lyrically he does seem to have a thing for the ladies as ‘Ain’t She A Honey’ and ‘You’ve Got Such Beautiful Eyes’ demonstrate, whilst ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Your Baby’ is a throwaway piece of rock ‘n’ roll fluff. Much better is the 60′s flavoured ‘The Lucky Guy’, that shows Don McLean still has his vocal range and power.
Don McLean will always been known for ‘American Pie’ (he has even registered that as a trademark, along with some key lines from the song) and although he may never hit those heights in song writing and sales terms again, ‘Botanical Gardens’ shows he still has the magical touch musically on parts of this album. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
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