|Pipedream - A Review|
|from NME July 7th, 1973 - discovered by Michael Clayton|
Alan Hull Has Made A Darn Good Record - "Pipedream" (Charisma)
It seemed sad when Lindisfarne split. So they weren't up there with the Zeppelins or ELPs of British rock but Lindisfarne were still a first class band supplying some very honest down to earth good-time music. And they knew how to write a tune.
Their last album "Dingly Dell" was largely Alan Hull's album and didn't meet with the critical acclaim their first two albums had received. The five split - three forming Jack The Lad who've released a pleasant, though unexceptional single - while Hull and Ray Jackson have reformed the old band. Hull has also made this solo album and it's excellent. Both musically and lyrically.
Naturally enough, there's songs that wouldn't be that much out of place with the old Lindisfarne, like "Money Game". Like some of the old Lindisfarne material the song swells on the chorus, Ray Jackson's sparkling mandolin and presumably Hull's harmonium adding colour. Like so many songs on "Pipedream" "Money Song" (sic) has substance and it's a real joy to listen to. "Numbers (Travelling Band)" is another fine song with some keen observations and descriptions of an English band being on the road. Who else would play dominoes or darts on the way to a gig but an Englishman? Hull's scorn comes across too with: "Yes-men with their suggestions/ well-wishers with their lies."
"Country Gentleman's Wife" is a kind of "Soldier Will You Marry Me?" ballad. "For The Bairns" is a song directed at his daughter, and it contains some subtle observations. "Breakfast" is about an affair with a married woman and, as with "Numbers (Travelling Band)", the music fits the lyric. Some very effective strangled guitar and the song's last word - "Dead" - goes through some agonising phasing. "Drug Song" doesn't really work - it's much too ambitious. And much as I like "Blue Murder" it does sound like a rip-off of Neil Young's "Down By The River" right down to the thud-thud bass. These are small quibbles.
With McCartney's writing a mere ghost of his past achievements and Lennon going through a period of musical inactivity Alan Hull is easily one of the best songwriters currently around. Like Lennon he has that Northern bite which makes "Pipedream" a reality.