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Review: Ian Prowse/Who Loves Ya Baby

John D Hodgkinson on the songwriter who keeps on giving

Written by . Published on May 30th 2014.


Review: Ian Prowse/Who Loves Ya Baby
 

A FRIEND of mine once observed that he thought my head must be so full of words that it needed a filter. I have similar thoughts about Ian Prowse. His mind must be full to exploding with song fragments, lyrics and tunes that it requires a regular outlet.

Therefore, it comes as a major surprise that this is his first collection of new songs since Amsterdam’s 2008 album, Arm in Arm. It is also his first set of songs released under his own name.

Given the arrival of his daughter, Rosalita, during that time, I am prepared to overlook the lamentable title of this album and will not refer to a lolly-sucking shiny pated fictional member of the NYPD. Not once.

As we have come to expect, there is a plethora of fine tunes here and he is in terrific voice throughout.  Opening track God and Man wonders open-mouthed at how the innocence of a baby daughter reveals sides of his character previously hidden.

The first sign of Prowse’s Celtic soul emerges on Coming Up For Air, which starts with a description of the decaying town centre of Ellesmere Port. A wistful nostalgia pervades the regret at not having fled his home town much earlier.

A real stand-out moment is reached with an interpretation of Alun Rhys Jones’ song Lest We Forget, which bristles with indignation at the senseless loss of life that was the First World War. It’s the first song Prowse has recorded that he didn’t write and it’s a heart-stopping moment.

The Murder Of Charles Wooton, a touching ballad,  draws parallels between the eponymous character, hounded to death by a Liverpool mob in 1919 and Anthony Walker’s murder. The song stands as a fitting and honourable tribute to both men.

Lift Up Thine Eyes pays tribute to the contribution to Liverpool made by “The great tribes of these Islands”, including Wales (Diolch yn fawr for that, Ian)

Ian Prowse revels in self-promotion and chutzpah, but it is not just empty vaunting. He can justify it. The fact that he does it so consistently is astonishing

9/10

*Ian Prowse and Amsterdam play at East Village Arts Club this Saturday, May 31.


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