Problem with artists like Michael Chapman, which is also a blessing, is that their body of work is so huge, and so spread between labels over the years, that many albums are often unavailable unless you found yourself a battered copy of the original LP.
And so, sadly I have to jump the entire decade of the eighties, only because I never heart these albums.
Chapman was always very enthusiast about American music. From his early childhood he was listening to American jazz and blues and throughout his albums he combined these elements, if it was in his playing or production (like the ultra American production of Savage Amusement).
In 2001 and 2002, Chapman had released two consecutive albums called Americana 1 & 2. Both of them were later gathered into a single release.
These albums, are a celebration for guitar players and fans of instrumental guitar albums. The style is southern, swampy, sweaty, bluesy, weary but overall amazing.
Though both volumes were released separately, again I’m taking the liberty to see them as two halves that makes a whole. So I’ll write about them together.
To me, as a guitarist, these albums were a real shock. I knew his playing and that this guy’s a master, but I didn’t know that over the years he just became better and better. So the playing in both Americanas, are just perfect, out of this world mix of acoustic and electric guitars. If there’s you’re after a roadtrip soundtrack, after you finished listening for the 100th time to Paris, Texas – you ought to take these two on the road. These are fragments of America, served hot and crispy.
It’s always interesting to hear how a musician manages to capture in his playing or writing style, that particular DNS that makes the music authentic. When you’re from X and doing a very Y style – that’s even more impressive. I don’t know how he did it, but this northern England musician, sounds like he was born and raised in the swamps of the south. Not that I know much about them myself, being from Tel Aviv, but I saw couple of pictures in Discovery.
The Americans are a brilliant blend of folk, blues, country, bluegrass and all that jazz, and though they’re rather overlooked, these two albums are as essential in your Chapman collection, as any 1970′s album of his.