Chris Flegg,
The Sound of Life
(independent, 2008)

Chris Flegg is a self-taught folk and jazz musician from the St. Albans region of London, and he wrote all 13 tracks on this beautifully simple album.

"Troubadour Cafe" sets the scene as he sings about an actual folk-scene hot spot and recounts many of the familiar names of that scene from a few decades ago. Lost love is recounted in the haunting "I'm Not Crazy Yet" with a lovely facility with words and a typically simple backing.

"Old Ben" takes Flegg from the more familiar city-folk scene into a rural tale about an old dog. The musical backing steals in regularly to transport us to an era of traditional folk. The more familiar folk music of the idealistic 1960s is recalled on the anti-war song "A Song of Peace."

We get a walk in the fresh air and bit of botanical knowledge on the delightful "Flowers of England." The album closes with an intriguingly titled song called "I Knew a Girl She was So Thin." This brings us that other strand of folk music -- the humorous song -- delivered in a perky style, but with just perhaps a hint of a hidden message.

Flegg is an excellent writer and performer -- he serves double duty on guitars and soprano sax -- with a repertoire that is fresh and thought-provoking. What more do you need? Buy it and encourage good writing. Maybe next time he might include the lyrics on the insert.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

20 June 2009

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