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
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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