Sound of the seventies
YOU MIGHT have thought that after his monumental 70th celebratory year, 2012 might see Michael Chapman taking things a bit easier – you'd be wrong.
The septuagenarian who started his professional musical career at the Count House Folk Club in Botallack near St Just back in the balmy mid-1960s, kicked off in January with a live rendition of his first improvisation album The Resurrection and Revenge of the Clayton Peacock on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label.
Like nothing else Chapman had done before, this musical side-step has encapsulated his unquenchable thirst for new inspiration and direction which has shown no sign of abating and has endeared him to many youngermusicians and fans, particularly in America.
Despite this musical expansion and coterie of youthful collaborators it is still the earlier songs and music that he returns to on a regular basis, much as he returns to Cornwall each year.
It's the bond and memory that draws him back.
This year he will be playing at the Brewery Visitors' Centre, St Austell Brewery on Thursday, July 12 and The Count House, Botallack on Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14.
This year has also seen the release of Oh Michael Look What You've Done, a fine tribute to his song and instrumental writing skills with covers as diverse as The Black Twig Pickers (a traditional blue grass outfit from rural Virgina), Maddy Prior who needs no introduction and a sublime version of That Time Of Night by LA heart-wrencher Lucinda WiIlliams – a real treat.
He's also working on a collaboration with Paul Buckmaster who did the string arrangements on Michael's probably most well-known album, Fully Qualified Survivor as well as working with Elton John.
They met up again after 40 years and have an album due for release next year which features Michael with string arrangements of some of his favourite songs.
There will be a Purcell Room showcase of this and Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring Paul Buckmaster and string quartet and hopefully Rick Kemp, early next year.
For St Austell Brewery concert call the visitor centre on 01726 879500, and inquiries for seat reservations for the Count House, 07850 491309.