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


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.78 | 336 ratings

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3 stars Foolīs Mate is the debut solo album from UK progressive rock artist Peter Hammill. The album was recorded and released in 1971 but the songs on the album dates as far back as 1967 and some had been played by early incarnations of Peter Hammillīs main act Van Der Graaf Generator. Peter Hammill explains in the booklet that he felt urged to release the songs on the album to get them out of his head as he had kept humming them to himself throughout the years. He also explains that it had to be then or else he would probably loose his interest and they would never have been recorded. So in between Van Der Graaf Generatorīs extremely busy tour calender and album releases ( Foolīs Mate was recorded and relased between H to He, Who Am the Only One (1970) and Pawn Hearts (1971)) Peter Hammill found time to record Foolīs Mate. The album was recorded in three days with the help of fellow Van Der Graaf Generator collegues David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans along with a couple of guest musicians most notably Robert Fripp ( King Crimson) who provided guitar on some of the tracks.

The music is, maybe not so surprisingly considering that the songs were mostly written in the late sixties, not as experimental as Van Der Graaf Generatorīs output. Most of the songs on the album are sophisticated pop/ rock songs with very ordinary vers/ chorus structures. Thereīs saxophone, mandolin, harmonica, violin and organ/ piano in addition to drums, bass and guitar all of which adds colours to the songs. The mood varies from quite sombre ( Happy, Solitude) to rocking ( Imperial Zeppelin) and more light ( Sunshine). Quite often with a psychadelic touch. The focus in the songs are Peter Hammillīs vocal lines and performance though and as always his paatos is an aquired taste. This is one of his more restrained performances though and people who wouldnīt normally enjoy Peter Hammillīs voice might even find enjoyment here.

The musicianship is excellent. Itīs not audible that this is a kind of project recorded in only three days.

The production is very good too.

Foolīs Mate is a very good album from Peter Hammill but it is obvious that some of the songs belong more in the sixties than in the seventies which is not a plus in this case. I could have wished for some more challenging song structures as well, as the album is not as impressive after a couple of listens as it was after the initial listen. I thought about giving Foolīs Mate a 4 star rating, but Iīve come to the conclusion after repeated listening that itīs a 3 star recording for me.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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