Beautifully Crafted Folk Songs Destined to Break a Thousand Hearts.
Ahhhhh; Robin Adams, son of Chris and Pauline Adams who were the axis of one of my favourite bands of all time, String Driven Thing, of whom Robin became an occasional member in the bands latter days.
Enough of the history lesson; that’s what Wikipedia is for, not RMHQ.
I only have two of Robin’s 5 previous releases; but they are both cherished parts of my ever growing collection.
As with many artists in 2020 the various Lockdowns around the globe has necessitated a ‘back to basics’ attitude; and it’s no surprise that this actually suits the Glaswegian’s unprepossessing and intimate style of Folk perfectly.
Robin’s warm Scottish tones run through opening track A Friend of Mine like a peaty Highland Malt on an Autumnal evening in front of the fire.
This very personal story has a sting in the tail when you listen carefully; but that won’t unravel for a few plays; but when it does you will find yourself blowing your cheeks out and sighing.
In a grand tradition that goes back to the cusp of the 1950’s and 60’s; Robin Adams is a Folk Singer; no more and no less; telling stories set to music that resonate with the listener in a way most other mediums can’t actually manage.
If not ourselves, we all know someone like the characters Adams sings about in the inquisitive Signs and especially Dancer In Your Eyes too; which shows what a craftsman he has grown into.
Because of its quirky intro I’d have liked From a Dream to have been the opening song on the album; but whatever, it’s such a beautifully rich Folk Song that I will forgive the programming ‘error.’
Perhaps Robin felt that the ‘subject matter’ may scare off casual listeners; but that would have been their loss.
The final song on the album One Thing, is the type of introspective song we’ve come to expect; but then again his striking words and melody are as different from anything I remember from either of the albums in my collection, that you forget what an imaginative songwriter he is.
(I keep forgetting to mention the delightful and intricate melodies on each an every song btw)
Perhaps it’s the relatively simple ‘home production’ on ONE DAY, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed what a talented guitarist Robin is; very much in the tradition of Bert Jansch and John Martyn; back in the halcyon days of bedsit lothario’s.
I’m struggling to choose between two very, very different songs as My Favourite here.
It would be easy to select the ‘love song’ All Your Money as it’s as near to commercial and up-tempo as Robin Adams gets here; and who doesn’t like a song with whistling in it?
But; there’s also one other that I was drawn to as soon as I saw the track listing; and has proven to be as dark and (again) personal as a song from Robin Adams will ever get.
The raw honesty in Black Cloud will upset many listeners; but much like Justin Townes Earle’s Harlem River Blues many years ago; it will touch the hearts and souls of far too many people (myself included) who will think, ” He is singing about me” and for that; I can only thank Robin Adams so profusely for daring to write and release such a brave, yet delicate song.
I don’t know where Robin Adams sits in the grand pantheon of Scottish singer-songwriters; as he never gets ‘mentioned in despatches’ even though he is one of the nations finest songwriters IMHO; and his natural vocal style is designed to break a thousand hearts.