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Wrecked Again [Digipak]

Album: Wrecked Again [Digipak]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Polar Bear Fandango
2)    Indian Queens
3)    Wrecked Again
4)    All in All
5)    Back on Your Own Again
6)    First Leaf of Autumn, The
7)    Fennario
8)    Time Enough to Spare
9)    Night Drive
10)    Mozart Lives Upstairs
11)    Shuffleboat River Farewell
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Michael Chapman (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Ray Martinez (guitar); Jack Emblow (accordion); Rick Kemp (electric bass); Pique Withers (drums, percussion); Neil Lancaster, Claudette Houchen, Albert Hammond, Liza Strike (background vocals).
  • Audio Remasterer: Nick Robbins.
  • Liner Note Author: Andru Chapman.
  • Recording information: A.I.R., London; Rockfield Studios; Trident.
  • Photographer: Richard Imrie.
  • For Michael Chapman's early fans, the 1971 release of Wrecked Again, his fourth and final album for Harvest was a return to the glories of Rainmaker and Fully Qualified Survivor. He'd disowned his third album, Window, claiming it was an unfinished series of acoustic demos released by the label while he was on tour for an album he fully intended to be electric. (This bears weight since some of its songs have remained in the songwriter's live set into the 21st century.) Recorded at Rockfield Studios with producer Gus Dudgeon and a band that included bassist Rick Kemp (who had been with him since the beginning), drummer Pique Withers, accordionist Jack Emblow, and a slew of backing vocalists (including Albert Hammond), with lead guitar by Ray Martinez and strings and horns by Paul Buckmaster added by Dudgeon later. Like its predecessors, Wrecked Again features songs in a wide variety of styles with his now trademark guitar style that seamlessly melds British folk, country, rock, jazz and blues -- sometimes in the same song. What anchors it all is his grainy baritone, which carries the weight of the world's sadness and the joy of its carnal pleasures within it. The instrumental opener "Polar Bear Fandango" is a strutting combination of ragtime and rockabilly blues. There are some wrenching, beautiful folk-rock numbers including "Back on Your Own Again," the title track, and set closer "Shuffleboat River Farewell"; the latter two feature killer string and horn charts. ("Shuffleboat River Farewell" was re-cut in 1976 for the album Savage Amusement.) The slippery rhythms in the smoky, languid "Indian Queens" predates the jazzy ballad form that John Martyn would employ years later, and the other ballads, "The First Leaf of Autumn" and "Night Drive," are strikingly poetic lyrically, musically, and texturally. Chapman cut one of his bassist's songs in the funky rag "All in All." And speaking of Kemp, his bass playing throughout is phenomenal and dominant; the musical equivalent of anchor in everything here whether on an electric instrument or bowing an upright. Check the set's longest cut, "Fennario," as Kemp first drives, then moves outside the minor-key electric guitar vamp in a hypnotic, grooving rocker that is elevated by a gospelized backing chorus. They return in the funky, uptempo, electric fingerpicking blues of "Time Enough to Spare." The R&B-tinged folk-rock in "Mozart Rides Again" was cut during the Rainmaker sessions in 1969 as the B-side of "It Didn't Work Out," but fits wonderfully here. Ultimately, there isn't a weak moment on Wrecked Again; it belongs with Rainmaker and Fully Qualified Survivor in a trilogy of early Chapman classics that gave us a portrait of how mercurial, elusive, and endlessly creative he is as a songwriter and guitarist. ~ Thom Jurek
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