Barbara Dickson,
To Each & Everyone
(The Songs of Gerry Rafferty)

(Greentrax, 2013)

It is a quandary reviewers often face when dealing with songs that are already familiar but presented now in new arrangements. We can be so set in our ways that the new artist has that extra barrier to breach in winning our favor.

Barbara Dickson does this from track one -- the quintessential Gerry Rafferty song "Baker Street." The writer made this a classic, but Dickson brings out the beauty of the lyrics to perfection.

"Where I Belong" sounds like one of those songs we associate more with Dickson in her show-tune mode. Naturally, there are also a number of tracks that would only be familiar to Rafferty fans, but even these are given new life here -- and Dickson's diction brings out the nuances of the writing in a way that few others could. Rafferty's lovely story-song "Steamboat Row" is a stand out track that will have new listeners enthralled as any short story might.

"Mary Skeffington" has always been a favorite that I never dreamed could be improved. Dickson proves me delightfully wrong. From the doleful cello opening through her delicious delivery, you cannot ignore this song. In its original incarnation it deserved wide appreciation but now it demands it. The array of musicians contributing is wonderful.

On the title track, the backing is reduced to Dickson on harmonium with beautifully layered backing vocals, and it is a revelation of what such a simple arrangement can achieve. "The Ark" brings us back to a very full array of backing voices and instruments, and it is fantastic.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

19 October 2013

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