Helen McCookerybook DRAWING ON MY DREAMS

Helen McCookerybook
Drawing on My Dreams
Big Song Records/Bandcamp

Charming, Dreamy and Spiky Left of Centre Observational New Wave of Folk?

Can someone out there tell me where I ‘file’ Helen McCookerybook in my music collection please?
She’s certainly not your typical singer-songwriter and is pretty much left of centre in the Folk World too; but that said …. we do like a Maverick here at RMHQ and ex-Punkette, Helen is certainly that in our books.
Like so many album released this year, DRAWING ON MY DREAMS comes out of Covid and and the Pandemic’s various lockdowns, when Helen spent a lot of time on her own immersing herself in a variety of books, and ultimately coming up with gorgeous songs like the opener; Beachwalk which is even dreamier and lovely than I would ever have dared hope for.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t played one of her albums for a while; but Helen’s vocals on these ‘home recordings’ simply sparkle on nearly every song; and even as early as track #2 the charming love story; All I Want (is the Sun to Shine for You) you can imagine her ‘trademark’ smile shining through every line.
With very few day to day observations to draw on during the writing/note taking process Helen was left to dip into her rather vivid and artistic imagination; and this comes to the fore on Pandora, Woodwide Web and the ever so charming and sad Little Egret, which features my favourite observation:
Oh graceful ghost
With airy feathers
that look like Mr Whippy ice cream.

Who doesn’t want to hear a song with lines like that?
Earlier this morning when I was contemplating which song would be my final Favourite, I couldn’t stop coming back to the two songs about Coffee! Why not ….. it’s my current drug of choice; and if it wasn’t such a bladder irritant I’d drink even more!
Wake Up and Smell The Coffee was obviously an early contender; and I presume 99% of the listening public will smile knowingly at Helen’s insightful observations ….. then there is the effervescent Coffee and Hope; which is something of a rallying call for all of us in the 21st Century …. why has no one else wrote this song before?
But …. there is one other song that is simply breathtaking ….. After The Storm starts with and features some intricate; almost Spanish guitar playing while Helen delves deep and gives us a deep and meaningful song that will appeal to people on a variety of levels, not least the love lorn and lonely. Easily my Favorite Song on a really special album.
Then we have Dear Life; which is the perfect way to close such a delicate and charming album of heart tickling songs, from one of our most undervalued singer-songwriters.
I’m not sure which version of the release I’ve received but it features another three ‘Extra Songs’ on the end; the first of which Home Prison took me by surprise; as I initially thought it was about lockdown; then the ‘twist’ kicked in about the third time I heard it ….. phew …. what a powerful tale this is; sadly reminding me of a niece’s first marriage. Oh Helen ….. why isn’t this on every copy of the album/CD?
Set in Stone on the other hand is simply Helen McCookerybook at her deceptively sweetest; as the story (about the Colston stature in Bristol?) in the song has even more twists that the Big Dipper at Blackpool.
Normally I would dismiss ‘extra songs’ as just that; barely mentioning them, but the third Compass Points is a clever ‘Folk Song’ that can’t be ignored either.
I’ve been playing this album on and off for 6 or 7 days now; and ….Deep breath …… I think by any standards is quite extraordinary; and if there’s anything positive to come out of the Pandemic and The Lockdowns it’s the extra time songwriters have had to construct their next albums; and Helen McCookerybook has created a thing of beauty here that needs to be shared among music lovers of all persuasions.

Released October 7th 2022


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