Deal Gone Done is the first album in a trilogy that was later compiled into a triple cd collection called Dogs Got More Sense: The Decca Years (Bonus Dvd). This box set reissues three Decca albums – Deal Gone Done, Savage Amusement and The Man Who Hated Mornings and also includes a 55 minutes DVD with a 2005 Chapman interview about his career. This box set is a must have, for Chapman fans and for newbies, and tells the story of the electric Chapman period. It is also sold for a ridicules price, and worth every dime.
Dave Leeke posted a long, thorough review of this album in his blog In The Footsteps Of The Fools, that really get the job done in terms of writing about this album.
Deal Gone Done was released in 1974, and it’s even more stripped down production then his earlier stripped down albums, as this is a truly solo Chapman album, with Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum on bass and drums respectively. Both of them are long time collaborators of Chapman and were also the playing the rhythm section in folk-rock group Steeleye Span. Joined the album, in backing vocals, is Maddy Prior, the singer of Steeleye, and folky hero Bridget St John. Again, he produced the album himself, giving the guitar the center position in the overall arrangements.
Most of the guitar tracks are solo or overdubbed, but lacks the long solos the appeared in his previous albums, so this is more Chapman, short and sweet. Even the front cover had a picture of Chapman and the title writing, nothing flashy, like this album.
The albums opens with The Rocknroll Jigley, a jigs and reels tune. I personally don’t like JnR, but who asked me anyway. Dave Leeke quoted Charles Shaar Murray from NME, who commented on this album that “This album was evidence for Chapman as Britian’s JJ Cale“. This is somewhat true, I agree.
Party Pieces tells the story of being so totally drunk, that when he went to the toilet at a party, he couldn’t find his way back. Around that time, Chapman began to drink more, this love for the drink will affect his career in the eighties, but we’ll get to that later.
Another Season Song is just beautiful open tuning strummed acoustic guitar with a thrilling electric slide guitar, played by Chapman. Stranger Passing By could have been an outtake from the Survivor sessions, with its longing, mysterious vibe.
The Jigs and reels phase returns with the short humors Used To Be, which also tells a bit of Chapman’s own history as college teacher.
Deal Gone Done is a fabulous and fun track, again with the technique of a sponge under the guitar strings, like in Wrecked Again‘s Night Drive, and futures Prior and St. Jones on backing vocals.
The perfect track in the album is Theme from the Movie in the Same Name, an acoustic based track with an electric guitar that goes through a Leslie speaker or something like that. It proves again Chapman’s skills as an acoustic guitar player.
The albums ends with Journeyman, a song that Chapman tells in the DVD, written after he fired his band in a show in Paris, after his one shilling jacket was stolen and he suspected it was one of the guys. So eventually, he found himself “with a shirt he didn’t need, guitar in his hand and a car he didn’t own”. Rocknroll baby.
[Buy] Deal Gone Done appears as a part of the Dogs Got More Sense boxset