Paul Handyside first crossed my music path over 30 years ago when he was the singer in a Post-Punk band called Hurrah for Youth; who once reached the dizzying heights of #7 in the Indie charts; but were great live.
Since the band broke up in 1991 Paul has performed all over the world and released several very fine albums; all of which I own and play.
This is the point in a review when I’m meant to tell you which pigeon hole to file Handyside in; but I can’t. You see he is what we used to know as; simply a ‘singer-songwriter’ who channels many forms of music to create his very own sound; and a lovely sound it is too.
The title track; Wayward Son, which closes the album, sums my feelings up perfectly as it could easily be sung in a Folk Club on a Tuesday night by a man in an Arran sweater or by someone wearing a Stetson in the Bluebird Café on a Friday, as it has all the hallmarks of a great Country song too; yet when Paul sings it, it has an Indie edge that wouldn’t be out of place in a dingy Camden Rock Club on a sweaty Saturday.
As a lover of love songs I simply adore He Loves Her Now which is about not taking love and partner’s for granted and actually working at what should come naturally; and a lesson we could all learn.
When The Good Times Roll Again is a genuine Folk Song, with a belting sing-a-long chorus, written from the point of view of a WW1 soldier in the trenches but is just as relevant today; as bugger all has changed for the men and women in the front line.
Album opener Glory Bound takes a more universal approach to being in the military; but still at the sharp end and should be on every Government Minister’s i-pod.
‘Real Music’ lovers will enjoy and appreciate the intricate guitar playing and doom laden lyrics of Still Time Away which has all the hallmarks of early Leonard Cohen or John Martyn.
Arguably my favourite track is the miserablist and powerful song about the death of a loved one, Passing Through; as it touches all of the things a man my age reflects upon and Handyside’s use of words and the awesome arrangement had me clenching my fists and listening with tightly closed eye lids.
There’s not many laughs on WAYWARD SON but every now and again we all need to listen to some grown up music that touches the heart, the soul and the brain.