Friday, December 16, 2016

Review: Crazy Dancing Days by Keith Christmas.

It has been a long wait for a new album from Keith Christmas since Live At The Pump in 2012 so I was very pleased when Crazy Dancing Days popped through my letter box yesterday. The twelve songs on the album are all written by Keith and I think this is the first album of completely new material that he has produced in decades.
On opening the package which incidentally arrived only three days after I had ordered it, (I wish everyone I bought stuff from online was this prompt) I discovered a most attractively designed CD featuring a Mud Dance drip painting by Frank Marino Baker. There is also a photo by Tony Lock and Keith had also taken the time to sign my copy.

The opening track Crazy Dancing Days demonstrates what a virtuoso guitarist Keith is, as does every track on the album. In the lyrics, he mentions playing at Les Cousins. This was a folk club in Greek Street in Soho where everybody who was anybody in the folk music world of the 60’s played. It was famous for its all-night sessions. The song is a nostalgic look back to those heady days. There is quite a political message to this album as shown by the second song Cross The Water which is an impassioned plea for us to be more sympathetic to refugees. Sadly, a message that I fear is falling on deaf ears these days, especially in Brexit Britain. Flow Through Me is a great song which as I interpret the lyrics is about Keith getting the muse again during a trip to France and after years of writers block suddenly starts channeling songs. I often think that with artistic people that the inspiration doesn’t come from them, it flows through them and often even they don’t understand where it comes from. I suppose in the old days the next song Welcome To The End Of The World (One More Time) would be called a ‘Protest’ song. I think we could do with a few more protest songs these days.

 I am glad that the next two songs, Haul It Up and Sail With The Sun sit next to each other on the album because they seem to complement each other very nicely indeed. Both are awash with nautical references. I think you can tell that Keith lives by the coast. Talking To The Dead (Again) is a wonderful poignant song with Keith reflecting on the life of an old friend.
The political themes return in the next three songs. When The New Man Comes To Power seems very topical to me with the unspeakable one about to be installed as USA President. After watching the news about what is happening in Aleppo at the moment I think that King Of The Ruined Castle could easily refer to Assad but that’s just my interpretation. I have seen Keith perform If The Young Don’t March at the Village Pump fest and thinking what a great song it is. I’m not sure if I exactly agree though. It wasn’t the young who voted for Brexit, also I think there are a lot of marches and demos going on but it doesn’t get the coverage in the biased media. Jeremy Corbyn certainly got huge crowds of youngsters at his rallies during his leadership campaign.

Cover It Up features some frenetic guitar playing and sounds like quite an angry song. By complete contrast the last song Small Brass Box is a beautiful mellow ballad inspired by mementos of his parents. I loved this song on first listen. If a retrospective best of Keith Christmas album is ever issued in the future then I think this song would certainly deserve to be included on it.
I have really enjoyed listening to this album the last two days and Keith should be really proud of his achievement. If you would like to find out more about Keith Christmas then go to his website here-

 http://keithchristmas.com/