Rainmaker was Chapman’s debut album, released by Harvest in 1969. The album came as a total surprise, as Chapman did not emerged from the boiling melting pot of mid-60’s Soho scene, wasn’t a part of any interesting ‘scene’ (unless you include the Leeds jazz scene) and never met Bert Jansch, which is mandatory (he met Jansch only years later when the two toured together).
The album presents a fine blends of songs from different styles. It has its hard rockish sides like the opening It Didn’t Work Out or the up-beat Small Stone, It has its ballads like You Say or No Song To Sing, it has its instrumental pieces like the Davey Graham‘s influenced Thank You P.K 1944 or Sunday Morning, but above all – it’s has a that slippery factor that makes a songwriter into a great songwriter. I can’t define it, otherwise I would have become a songwriter and make millions.
His playing styles, influenced mainly by Graham and Jansch, Wizz Jones and Big Bill Broonzy, is both percussive and gentle. He combines a funky next to a smooth relaxed style. His voice is surprisingly self assured, and is full of presence. The band plays fantastic, and amongst others, the album features the busiest bassist in England of the time – Danny Thompson, and also his to be a long time collaborator – Rick Kemp on bass.
Rainmaker is an album that fusions jazz, blues and folk, and most of Chapman’s albums shares this description, but it’s interesting to see how Chapman managed to twist the definitions of these styles into something genuine of his own.
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