Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Looking For The Grave Of Garcia Lorca
release date: Oct 2010
Label: Vida
EGEA Distribution in association with Spitz Records.
Looking for the Grave of Garcia Lorca is the latest album by London-based singer-song-writer Joe Wilkes, and dedicated to the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca, killed by Franco’s fascists during the Civil War in 1936. Wilkes is a great admirer of his poetry and clearly his politics too.

Wilkes is an accomplished acoustic guitar player in the Bert Jansch mould and a gravelly-voiced troubadour. As you can hear from these songs, his politics are firmly Left, but he doesn’t use them as a vehicle for propaganda or political pamphlets. They are deeply personal and his politics only emerge, through the fissures, in the odd word or phrase.

It’s difficult to categorise Wilkes’s music – part blues, a dash of Dylan, part country/folk and, in its instrumental mix, has at times a chamber music or free jazz quality, but it all bears the unmistakable stamp of Joe Wilkes himself.

The title track - Looking for the Grave of Garcia Lorca – is hauntingly evocative: ‘you can’t hide the truth; it’ll come out in the rain’.

In Settling the Score the singer contemplates the legacy of Wat Tyler’s peasant revolt after visiting Blackheath and the song has the militant refrain: ‘What happened back then we’re going to see some more and next time we’ll settle the score’

Unlike many of his contemporaries, he sticks vehemently to acoustic instrumentation and aural under- rather than over-statement. When you read the amazing mix of instruments used on this album - organ, flute, oboe, cor Anglais, violin, viola, cello, harmonica, clarinet and sax as well as guitar – you image an almighty cacophony, but the players are all extremely competent and their interweaving so well mixed that it all comes together as a smooth texture, underlining and complementing the vocals. A cracking album.

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