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Tom Newman - Fine Old Tom CD (album) cover

FINE OLD TOM

Tom Newman

 

Crossover Prog

3.17 | 3 ratings

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billwilly
3 stars Overall, this album is really fun to listen to. You can practically experience many varieties of styles from one song to the next: from soul, blues, rock n' roll to folk, boogie, country... Interestingly enough is the fact that many good and reknown musicians such as Fred Firth, Chris Butler, Mick Taylor and his friend Mike Oldfield participate in this album. At the end it is clear that they all got together to experiment, to jam and - the very basic intention of music - HAVE FUN! They transmit that happiness throughout the whole album.

Analysing some of the songs, let's begin with "Suzie" which has a style of soul and blues, a dramatic sound that is carried well by the guitar and the lead singer; "Poor Bill" lifts the beat to a more rock n' roll style; once again, good solos. I felt like listening to those classic rock performers or bands such as Rory Gallagher, or Family. "Ma Song" is a funny old-blues-style tune, with the sound of metallic guitars, but very experimental. The sound and the instruments were recorded as if you were listening to them in the 20's or 30's, suddenly the voice have a bizarre twist, very experimental. "Penny's Whistle Boogie", well, the name tells you everything; it's an instrumental boogie piece, if you like Canned Heat, definitely this song will be fine for you. "She said, she said" a cover from The Beatles with a more folk style combined with Canterbury scene; the voices are the core of the whole tune, and in the background some hindi percussions that complement it. "Sad Sing" has a beat style, definitely portraying the origins and influence of bands such as Herman Hermits, Beatles, etc. The next song is "Superman", a very strange jazzy tune with saxophone, and a good happy rhythm with all the instruments, and funny voices singing the lyrics and choruses. "Alison Says" goes back to experimentation and the voices play again the most relevant part of the tune; voices singing different tonalities, which reminded me of "We Have Heaven" by Jon Anderson in Yes's Fragile album or the whole Ollias of Sunhilow. The last track "Day of the Percherons" is a complete folk song - just the name paves the way for the music - with a combination of instruments like celtic flutes, tambourine, drums, beautiful choirs, and folk guitar arrangements; I loved this tune because I love Mike Oldfield and Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn are two of my favourite albums. Also, this tune is what probably made Tom Newman go on with a more folk prog style in his next albums. There are other songs included in the album, such as "Ham and Eggs", "Sweet 16" which are folk country songs, quite enjoyable or "Have Mercy on My Eyes" which is another boogie blues song.

Is it PROGRESSIVE? Well, if you separate song by song you will discover that only a couple of them have progressive hints, more oriented to folk prog, that is why Newman is considered as a "Crossover Prog" artist. One thing I am sure about is that it is full of experimentation and it is highly enjoyable because the songs are different from each other. Probably not highly essential or excellent in prog terms, but definitely is one of those albums that I would be very happy to add to my collection for the people that play in it, for the representation of Tom Newman (and the others)'s background. If you like all the combinations portrayed in this album, I give it 3 stars; if you don't like it but enjoy the rest of Newman's or Oldfield's albums, a 2 star is enough. I belong to the former group.

billwilly | 3/5 |

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