A Review of the Keith Potger CD
"Secrets of the Heart"

"Secrets of the Heart"
by Keith Potger

Copyright Keith Potger 2005
(Private - no label)
Circle Music +44 (0)1458 833033

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 6/06

I write this review from my home in Britain. And I write as someone old enough to remember Potger the first time around.

In the mid 1960s to late 1960s, the Australian group The Seekers made a massive impact on the music scene in virtually all English speaking countries.

True they had a vocalist in a million in Judith Durham, but the three male members of the quartet were hardly fifth wheels on the wagon. They were all talented instrumentalists and very tuneful singers: all adept at choosing just the right harmonic line to frame Durham's fantastic purity of tone.

But that was 35 years ago. And then they disappeared off my radar. I sort of missed all the Seekers' reunions.

But now amazingly, Keith Potger reappears in my life in 2006. Singing as well as ever. But what is more disturbing, looking just as handsome as when he was in his heyday. (I speak has someone who has gone-to-seed BIGTIME.)

He is performing a collection of nineteen of his wholly self-penned and co-written songs. And pretty good they are. And nobody can accuse him of giving you reduced portions! At one hour 13 minutes and 40 seconds, this is the longest album I have reviewed in ages.

Yet, when you listen to it, the time goes so quickly. No longueurs whatsoever.

He has an ear for melody, and so none of the songs are less-than-pleasing on the ear. The songs run the gamut: mainly personal, but sometimes opening the world of Australian life to our non-Aussie ears and eyes as with Track 3 “An Extraordinary Way”, his salute to Eddie Koiki Mabo.

Added to this songwriting subject-matter skill, he has a real ability to compress some BIG subjects into three or four stanzas.

This reaches its apogee with Track 9, “The Matriarch”. Don't let the pleasant almost jolly tune fool you: this is a deeply serious song on the subject of the sheer ephemeral nature of our existence.

Other songs worthy of real acclaim are “Island Nights” (I could feel the sand in my toes, and almost hear the waves lap the shore); “Friend Like You” (an anthem for people like me who married relatively late in life and are so relieved that one has found the perfect partner, and can thus save the energy one always expended on the Search For Perfection); and the instrumental coda “Denmark Sunset” (truly Gustav Mahler meets Edward Elgar, with an electric storm that suggests that both of them are applauding in the heavens).

But I have left the song that moved me most till last. “Kathleen” is a remarkable track. Let me try and tell you why.

On the surface, it is a well written narrative song written with “a/a/b/b” line endings. But that is just the surface.

Below it, you have a heartfelt paean of praise to Kathleen the love of his life, and the memories she has left him. A song that makes demands on one's vocal range, it is quite beautifully sung, with every note pitch perfect. And a glorious hook.

He starts it a cappella, until Michael Cristian's accordion comes in. And “comes in” so very effectively.

And by mentioning multi-instrumentalist Cristian, I have come to my only beef about the album. Oh, don't get me wrong: it is not with Cristian!

Au contraire, he bestrides this album like a colossus. His musical fingerprints are everywhere, and the man just EXUDES good musical taste.

No my complaint is this: sure Keith thanks him in his liner notes, but you need a magnifying glass to read his thanks.

No, what I want to insist on is this. Should there be a second pressing of this album, then the artiste's name be shown as follows:

“Keith Potger (with Michael Cristian)”.

That is the very least Keith can do to ensure that Michael gets his truly deserved artistic rewards.

But don't wait for a second pressing: the first one is there to be bought by you. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England.

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