A Review of the Brendan Devereux CD
"Songs From A Yellow Chair"


"Songs From A Yellow Chair"
by Brendan Devereux

Sitric Records (SITCD02)
www.brendandevereux.com
email:sitricrecords@eircom.net
. kris@riseband.co.uk

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 10/05

I get to review a lot of CDs. It is part and parcel of the times we live in.

Just as I came of age in the late 60s at a time when anyone with a half-decent chemistry set could produce hallucinogenic tablets in their back bedroom, so it is that in the Noughties, recording equipment has come on leaps and bounds, and so it is that folk performers can now produce albums with close on “studio fidelity” without ever leaving their house.

Now this has proved a mixed blessing. Sure it's great for the creative process, but it has meant that a plethora of folkies have produced albums, when in truth they only had an EP in them.

And to my shame, when I picked up Brendan's CD, I foolishly thought it one from what I call my “produced in a bedsitting room” pile! How wrong I was.

From the getgo, I could tell that this had such a crisp sound that it just MUST have come from a recording studio. And on investigating the sleeve, I noted that it had come from a set-up just celebrating its 20th anniversary: the prestigious Westland Studios in Lombard Street, Dublin 2. He doesn't do things by half, does our Brendan.

I then discover that in 1996 he had released a previous LP called “Copper Alley”. Where has he been hiding himself? How come I never heard of him?

And having listened to this CD several times, I have to tell you that whilst Brendan's diction is a bit of an acquired taste (mid Atlantic vowel sounds laid over a spectacularly unadulterated Irish accent...just listen to the way he several times pronounces the word “think” on track 7 “Deadman's Tale” and track 8 “Beyond The Blue”! Just charming!), his singing always engages and his guitar work always commands one's attention. But best of all, his songwriting avoids the cliché and covers an impressive range of subjects.

There is one song on this album that has all the chances of becoming a classic. A standard in folk clubs everywhere. It appears early-on in the CD. It really made me sit up and take notice. “Dromin” is a song for all of us who are unlucky in love, and Brendan delivers it with real passion.

He is aided here (as he is throughout) by truly superb fiddle accompaniment from Fionnula Devereux. Who she? Sister, wife…mother?

I think we should be told. Indeed that is a fault of this album: no liner notes.

Okay, we do not need the lyrics printing (Brendan's diction is so clear as to obviate the need for written lyrics), but as sure as heck we could be given some bio details on the musicians, and maybe some information on what prompted certain songs. Look, my friend: you wisely hired a fine studio. No need to penny pinch on the liner booklet.

Now as I sign off from this review, I think I will play “Bohemian Cowboy” for the fifth time. It won't have the legs of “Dromin”, but it sure is a nice cut.

Artiste website: www.brendandevereux.com
Artiste email: sitricrecords@eircom.net

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England
daigress@hotmail.com

Track List:


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