Monday, November 9, 2015

Claire Hamill - 1973 - October

Claire Hamill 

01. Island
02. To the Stars
03. Stay Tonight
04. Wall to Wall Carpeting
05. Speedbreaker
06. I Don't Get Any Older
07. Warrior of the Water
08. The Artist
09. Baby What's Wrong (With You)
10. Sidney Gorgeous
11. Crying Under the Bedclothes
12. Peaceful

Gerry Conway - Drums
Claire Hamill - Arranger, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Chris Laurence - Bass
Wayne Perkins - Guitar, Vocals
Jean Roussel - Keyboards, Piano
Steve Smith - Keyboards, Vocals
Tim Smith - Guitar, Vocals
Henry Spinetti - Conga, Percussion
Alan White - Drums
Paul Samwell-Smith: producer

It's not really right to describe a performer being like another performer, since of course each is unique, but sometimes one has to use a kind of shorthand to get an idea across. October was Claire's second album, in 1973. I have to admit I bought the album because I was intrigued by the pretty young woman on the cover gazing moodily out a rain-spattered window in a photo tinted a dark red; who was pictured on the back cover kicking up her heels in joy on a sunny autumn day.

I was rewarded with a really good album of many moods, with songs of a self-confessional nature about love and relationships ( that's where Joni Mitchell comes in ).Claire's moods ranged from the dissappointed, haltingly soft voice of Crying Under the Bedclothes; to the piercing soprano of the accusational Speedbreaker; to the silly playfulness of Sydney Gorgeous. The music is melodic and usually accompanied by acoustic instruments, so it has a sound closest to folk music on most but not all tracks. And there are a good number of memorable tracks.

I wish Clair had been better known over here in the U.S. I'm sure she would have found an audience if she'd gotten some radio airplay. She went on to become a member of the guitar based group Wishbone Ash, and has continued to be a well-known singer in Britain even now.

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