Album review: GORDON GILTRAP – Woman


Angel Air Records [Release date 28.02.20]

The latest couple of Gordon Giltrap albums may appear slightly disingenuous to the hardcore fan and may even dupe the casual observer.  Both Peace Will Fall and now Woman have been released without any great indication in despatches that they are essentially reissues of earlier work.  Indeed Woman is described as a “new studio album”.

On this latest compilation Giltrap has brought together songs with a female theme, either commissions or relating to those ladies who have inspired him.  Chief of whom is his wife Hilary and the opener ‘One For Billie’ was originally released on Ravens & Lullabies in 2013 (along with ‘Fiona’s Smile’).  This appears to be the only newly re-recorded/revisited piece.

Similarly ‘The Anna Fantasia’, ‘Sadie In May’, ‘Loren’ and  ‘Ania’s Dream’, were included on Giltrap’s last “original” studio album in 2017 – The Last Of England – with Paul Ward.  Four tracks originally appeared on 2007′s Secret Valentine.  Two of these tracks then appeared on Shining Morn (2011) along with three more that appear here.

‘The Stars That Look Down On Linda’ was included on another compilation Heartsongs which raised funds for the Birmingham hospital where Giltrap had major surgery in 2016.  The track listing of this album includes five tracks on Woman.  Newcomers should therefore exercise some caution with Giltrap’s back catalogue.

This album is a collection of songs sympathetic to females; at once romantic, passionate, inspiring and solid.  To the compiler’s credit – Paul Ward – the album has a natural ebb and flow with one piece running seamlessly into the next.

The “previous outing” scenario is hardly likely to upset newcomers, so Woman is essentially a good way of catching up with comparatively recent Giltrap.  To older punters, they will always remember when he went “electric” in the late 1970s and produced a series of excellent albums (see review link below).  Woman is all acoustic.

Giltrap supplies a brief note to each song in the liner note, but it may have also been helpful to expand this with a clear indication of the album on which they originally appeared.  Despite these niggles, Woman further reinforces Giltraps’ ascendancy as a tasteful, technically proficient, and compelling player.  ****

Review by David Randall

Album review (Peace Will Fall, 2018)
Album review (The Last of England, 2017 and interview)
Album review (reissues, 2013)

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