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Gordon Giltrap - Ravens & Lullabies (Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman) CD (album) cover


Gordon Giltrap


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3.68 | 19 ratings

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3 stars The old folkie goes Neo-Prog!

That Gordon Giltrap would work with Oliver Wakeman is perhaps not so surprising given Giltrap's previous work with Oliver's father. But what is surprising is that they went for a Rock album rather than a pure acoustic guitar and piano album in the style of From Brush & Stone (the album that Gordon made with Rick Wakeman a few years back). For Ravens & Lullabies, Gordon and Oliver enlisted Karl Groom as producer. Groom (apart from being a founding member of progressive Metal band Threshold and Neo-Prog act Shadowland and several others) has previously produced albums by John Wetton, Pendragon, Galahad, Landmarq, and many others. Paul Manzi of Oliver Wakeman Band and Arena appear here on lead vocals, Johanne James of Threshold play the drums, and Steve Amadeo the bass. Benoit David of Mystery and with whom Oliver has recently played in Yes contributes a guest vocal on From The Turn Of A Card.

I've read somewhere that this is Gordon Giltrap's return to Rock music after decades of acoustic guitar albums. I haven't heard all of Giltrap's albums from the interim period, but I'll take their word for it. Here he plays both acoustic and electric guitar. Oliver similarly alternates between piano and various other keyboards in his characteristic style (which is strongly reminiscent of that of his father). The album as a whole is about half acoustic and half electric, and also half instrumental and half vocal. This makes for a nice variance. The Rockiest moments sounds quite like the Oliver Wakeman Band. Surprisingly hard-edged and heavy for an old Folk guitarist, but it works!

The weakest link here is the lyrics which often appear a bit naive and simplistic. The worst case of this is the opener Moneyfactoring, but also Is This The Last Song That I Write has some banal lyrics. Manzi's vocals are ok, but I was never too impressed with his bluesy/soulful voice. Maybe they should have opted for an all instrumental album, or have let Benoit David sing all the songs? In my opinion, Ravens & Lullabies is not as consistently good as the (all instrumental) album that Oliver did with another legendary guitarist, Steve Howe: The 3 Ages Of Magick.

Still, Ravens & Lullabies is a rather good album and a very welcome return of Gordon Giltrap to progressive territory

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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