Songs from the 80s make a great listen
FORMER Rochdale school teacher and musician Colin Lever is revisiting some of the songs he co–wrote 40 years ago with my All Across the Arts colleague Norman Warwick.
I have heard a demo audio file with an eclectic mix of styles and vocal nuances, which would be appreciated by any discerning audience.
Whilst the kinship of these talented songwriters, born in the folk clubs of Heywood as Lendanear in the 1980s, is clearly evidenced by their easy collaboration on these songs, it has not stopped singer/ composer Colin from taking sidetracks and detours with his musical interpretations.
The most obvious one is the traditional Fishes and Coal, which on first listening seems wildly at odds with its poignantly worded narrative.
The upbeat, somewhat perky delivery is certainly unexpected, but the truth is that it works, hooking the listener into singing along heartily with its chorus. It’s a refreshing and perfectly enjoyable take on a somewhat predictable, sombre tale.
Last Boat Home, however, is traditional folk at its finest.
With hauntingly beautiful lyrics and ghostly chants, the duo has created a song with huge commercial appeal.
The additional guitarist on this arrangement, Steve Roberts from Norden, brings an added depth which might benefit further from an accordion or a chanter.
The theme of loss permeates this entire album yet Norman is never at a loss for words, which will come as no surprise to those who know him.
Last Year’s Blonde (which would make a great book title), with its gentle nod to Barry Manilow’s Lola, is the story of a fading barfly whose competition just happens to be next year’s blonde.
Despite the song’s obvious pathos, Norman’s wry wit shines through and Colin produces a musical accompaniment which is neither overly sentimental nor derisive.
There really is something for everyone in these songs. Lyrics may be wordier than most - creating playing times in excess of four minutes on most tracks - but if you love it (and there is a lot to love) then you will not find any hardship in this.
Colin is intending to record these tracks live onto DVD, to promote work with The Jersey Songwriter’s Society.
Fishes and Coal and One More for the Road are the only previously recorded Lendanear tracks and there are debut recordings for Careless Dancer, Children of The Night, Roll Slowly, The Last Priest and One Way Ticket Blues.
Lendanear in the 1980s, with Norman Warwick (left) and Colin Lever (right)