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Peter Hammill - Fool's Mate CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 392 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Fool's Mate" was Peter Hammill's first solo album, it was recorded between the albums "H To He Who Am The Only One" and "Pawn Hearts". Peter himself says VDGG were not going to record these songs for one of their albums, even though they had done demos of them, and played them live. Yet Peter says these songs had a certain validity about them,even if they were fairly light-weight for the most part. Hammill had composed these songs from 1966 to 1969, with most of them being from 1967. He felt if he waited any longer he wouldn't be able to identify with these songs enough to want to record them. And so he felt a sense of urgency to do it when he did, and that he couldn't rest until it was done. He enlisted the help of Robert Fripp who had guested on VDGG's "H To He..." record, as well as his band-mates from VDGG. Also two guys from the band LINDISFARNE who were label mates helped out.

"Imperial Zeppelin" is a fun uptempo track with some good organ work from Banton. Some backup vocals late as the humour continues. This is my least favourite though. "Candle" was composed in 1966 and is one of my favourites. Hammill is one of those rare artists who seemed to write great tracks right from the beginning. He even makes a burning candle seem like a dramatic event. Incredible ! The mandolin is a nice touch, but it's all about Peter's vocals. "Happy" is my favourite. I just love when he sings in that higher voice. Flute from Jackson. His lyrics are so personal and interesting. A poet indeed.

"Solitude" is a darker tune with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Vision" is simply Peter on vocals and Hugh on piano. This is melancholic and emotional. Beautiful lyrics, perhaps the best on this record. "Re-Awakening" is lighter with vocals and drums leading the way. Some nice organ work and sax late. I really like the way this song is arranged. That's 5 amazing songs in a row. "Sunshine" is a light silly song. I like it better the opening track though. Great lyrics as usual, and I like the vocal melodies late. "Child" features strummed guitar and vocals. Piano and flute later. "Summer Song In The Autumn" sounds so good with the organ and piano as Hammill comes in vocally. The tempo picks up and drums eventually join in. "Viking" opens with the sound of water as acoustic guitar then vocals arrive. A fuller instrumental sound before 3 minutes. Hey there's Fripp with some angular melodies. "The Birds" features solemn vocals, piano, bass and light drums. Fripp comes in at 1 1/2 minutes sounding very tasteful. A sad tune. "I Once Wrote Some Poems" opens with whispered vocals as strummed guitar comes in. It all builds. Peter becomes theatrical 1 1/2 minutes in. Fripp ends it with a noisey soundscape.

For me this is easily 4 stars. Hammill is in my opinion the greatest songwriter to have ever lived. "Fool's Mate" is further proof of that.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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