Album review: GRAHAM GOULDMAN – Modesty Forbids

David Randall chatted to Graham Gouldman in the first hour of his weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.  First broadcast 5 April 2020.

GRAHAM GOULDMAN - Modesty Forbids

Lojinx [Release date 20.03.20]

Graham Gouldman is a real trooper.  In recent years he has toured fairly constantly either with 10cc or with his ‘Heart Full Of Songs’ show.  And he’s also found time to accompany Ringo Starr and other legends touring in the States with the All-Starr Band.

Graham can be forgiven, therefore, for not releasing too many solo albums.  In fairness he hasn’t done badly, although the latest ‘Love And Work’ – reissued in 2018 – was first released in 2012.

‘Modesty Forbids’ confirms that Gouldman is a sensitive and classy songwriter but not afraid to collaborate.

The opening track – ‘Standing Next To Me’ – reflects Gouldman’s time with Ringo Starr (who plays drums on the piece), a real opportunity to rub shoulders with an artist whose band influenced Graham’s formative years.  At once it is nice recognition and very autobiographical.

The album takes a turn to jazz for ‘That Love’s Right There’ and in different hands – say Michael Buble – it would become a setlist staple.  This reinforces that Gouldman is also a great stylist, helping to explain his writing for others over the years, a skill he honed working for Kasenatz Katz publishing house in the late 1960s.

‘All Around The World’ connects more with previous recent solo offerings and was co-written with Beth Nielson Chapman and Gordon Kennedy.  ‘It’s Not You It’s Me’ originally intended for the modern version of Yardbirds (who Graham furnished with major hits in the sixties) is another standout along with ‘What Time Won’t Heal’ and ‘Hangin’ By A Thread’.

Lyrically, Gouldman is not afraid to touch on modern malaise with ‘Wake Up Dreamer’ a song I am sure 10cc would have embraced in the seventies.  The instrumental ‘Russian Doll’ changes the mood and shows musical diversity.

Throughout the album he’s been aided by long-term collaborator Graeme Pleeth and Iain Hornal, also a member of the current 10cc line-up, co-writes two songs.  Another kindred spirit, Phil Thornalley, co-writes the Beatle-esque ‘Waited All My Life For You’.

‘Modesty Forbids’ reflects the dying art of fine pop songwriting and craftsmanship.  Add in immaculate musicianship and a main-man who is still humbled by his fellow peers the album title becomes more understandable.

Graham is another national treasure and this latest album one to be treasured.  ****

Review by David Randall

Album review (and interview) (Love And Work, 2018)

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