Michael Chapman
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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Michael Chapman was an English singer songwriter who often played the stereotypical part of the melancholy, nostalgic minstrel but whose voice and guitar always seemed to be more influenced by blues than folk music. The intricate guitar parts set him apart from the scene of the Sixties, where melody, lyrics and posture were the defining elements of a folksinger.

Chapman began in the acoustic style with Rainmaker (Harvest, 1969) Donovan You Say and Rainmaker but It Didn't Work Out was almost southern boogie. Fully Qualified Survivor (Harvest, 1970) featured Mick Ronson on guitar and Rick Kemp on bass, with string arrangements by Paul Buckmaster. It includes three of his classics: Postcards of Scarborough, Aviator, Naked Ladies And Electric Ragtime. Window (Harvest, 1970) is the most experimental album of this period, running the gamut from the John Fahey-ian raga In The Valley to the surreal, psychedelic She Came In Like The "6:15" And Made A Hole In The Wall. Wrecked Again (Harvest, 1971) was a livelier album, that embraced rock's upbeat tempos (Shuffleboat River Farewell will remain one of his live favorites) and flirted with tex-mex in Polar Bear Fandango. Best Of 1969/1971 (See For Miles, 1988) is an anthology of this period.

Chapman became a full-fledged electric artist with Millstone Grit (Decca, 1973), that includes more conventional rock songs such as New York Ladies and Firewater Dreams, Deal Gone Down (Decca, 1974), Savage Amusement (Decca, 1976), and The Man Who Hated Mornings (Decca, 1977).

After Playing Guitar The Easy Way (Criminal, 1978), a guitar tutorial, Chapman increasingly turned to jazz, rock and new-age music. Howver, Life On The Ceiling (Criminal, 1979) and Looking For Eleven (Criminal, 1980) are mediocre at best, as is the solo acoustic album Almost Alone (Black Crow, 1981).

A duo with Rick Kemp yielded the live album Original Owners (Konnexion, 1984). The duo then formed Savage Amusement, but Chapman's most ambitious project of the decade was instead an all-instrumental concept album, Heartbeat (Coda, 1987), containing a nine-movement suite.

Still Making Rain (Making Waves, 1993)

Navigation (Planet, 1995)

Chapman published his first novel in 1995.

Dreaming Out Loud (Demon, 1997)

Twisted Road (Mystic, 2000) marked a return to form.

Growing Pains (Mooncrest Archives, 2000) collects unreleased tracks.

Americana (Siren, 2000) is an all-instrumetal album.

The Resurrection and Revenge of the Clayton Peacock (PTYT)

Pachyderm (Blast First Petite, 2012)

Chapman died in 2021.

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