Monday, December 18, 2006

Mick Softley "Songs For Swingin' Survivors" 1965

Softley's debut LP is one of the rarest '60s British folk albums, and one of the most coveted by collectors. While it's not as musically impressive as it is collectable, it's notable as one of the first U.K. singer/songwriter folk albums in the contemporary style pioneered earlier in the U.S. by Bob Dylan and the North American performers Dylan inspired. Indeed, there were few others in Britain taking a similar approach at the time of Songs for Swingin' Survivors' release, with the exception of Donovan and perhaps Bert Jansch. Early Donovan is an unavoidable point of comparison when listening to this solo acoustic guitar album, both for the earnest social consciousness and romanticism, and also since Softley actually wrote a few songs covered by Donovan in 1965. One of them, "The War Drags On," appears here in Softley's own version, and while it's not as good as Donovan's, it's notable as one of the first protest songs to directly mention the Vietnam War. Softley isn't as good a singer or tunesmith as early Donovan, however; his voice is a bit on the nasal and restrained side, sometimes coming off a little like a male equivalent to how Marianne Faithfull sounded after her voice lowered. Other than "The War Drags On," the voice of protest is felt in "After the Third World War Is Over," but, in fact, Softley was a fairly versatile writer, espousing early Donovan-like romance in "All I Want Is a Chance" and "What Makes the Wind to Blow"; got-to-ramble troubadourisms in "Keep Movin' On"; and a surprisingly direct (for 1965) reference to cocaine addiction in the love lament "Jeannie." Not everything is youthful singer/songwriting, as there are also covers of "Strange Fruit," "The Bells of Rhymney," and Woody Guthrie's "Plains of the Buffalo," as well as a couple of folk-blues instrumentals. Though it might be a minor album in all, it's still a rather good one, more tuneful than many a mid-'60s folk record based around original material, with impressive guitar work. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb LP, much better for many reasons than the review states. Thank you so much for posting it, I have a severely worn cassette copy which I'm sure this is superior to. Thanks again.

18 December, 2006 01:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lizarson, man, I can't keep up with you!!! Your blog is awesome! I didn't use to listen to that much folk but now I do it all the time (have to, with so many great records!!). I have about 3,000 Lp's in my collection (all kinds), but you have them all!! Man, congratulations on your being so generous! Other people with smaller collections are so selfish and greedy. Thanks a million for all your great shares!!! Greetings from México!!!
Joel (English teacher)

18 December, 2006 02:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

know two records... I'm curious of this one

20 December, 2006 03:09  
Blogger Pessi said...

Lizardson, you're a great, righteous man! Thanks for being!!

20 December, 2006 03:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for Mick Softley. I have copied the LP Street Singer. If you are interested here's the way to get it:
Have fun a keep doing your good job.

05 January, 2007 08:27  
Blogger Simon House said...!download|817l34|404825419|Mick_Softley.rar

04 March, 2011 06:23  

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