Mudcat Café message #1701584 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89980   Message #1701584
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
24-Mar-06 - 06:42 AM
Thread Name: Review of Jack Hudson in Derby
Subject: Review of Jack Hudson in Derby
This fine review of Jack Hudson's recent concert was written recently for the Real Music Forum by Neil Dalton

Jack Hudson Review - Vernon Arms 21.03.06

Jack Hudson is tall and rangy, with a face that looks not so much as if it
has been lived in but as if the tenant left owing a month's rent. He looks
like the last man in town, still chewing over whether to leave or stay,
before the tumbleweeds blow through and take over. He eases himself onto a
stool, preferring to sit while he plays, shifts his shoulders a few times to
get comfortable, tries out a couple of chords, fingers a little run and then
starts to sing and play: it's that easy, or at least he makes it seem so.

Before he came on stage he had clearly been leafing through my record
collection: not only does he talk about Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Ry
Cooder but he seems to love all the people I thought no one but me cared
much about anymore; Guy Clarke, Steve Earle - Lowell George. Dammit, he even
finished his opening set with a song I last heard Tim Buckley sing. There's
something special about Jack Hudson though, he may love the songs and the
singers I love but he doesn't flatter them by imitation. Every song he sings
is his own, every one has been worn smooth with loving use, like old leather
that's been cracked and polished both at the same time. He doesn't just
cover a song but strips it back to the bare wood, finds new springs and
re-upholsters the whole damn thing so that what you get is the song that
Jack built.

He can write songs too, songs that are in every way the equal of those he
loves; warm songs full of regret, sung with a sense of hope and songs of
hope, sung with a sense of loss. He makes you feel like you have been
invited in to his front parlour, placed in an old, comfortable arm chair,
handed a glass of sour mash whiskey and asked to listen to a few songs from
an old friend - just for fun, just for the hell of it. If there had been
hundreds of people in the room that night he would still have made you feel
the songs were just for you. Not easy that, to make things seem that easy.

I think he was probably suffering from a cold but it didn't matter. He has a
voice that sounds like it has had oak aged brandy poured over it and then
set alight but it rings as true as an old Martin guitar. His voice has been
to places other voices never get to go and a cold or a sore throat, well,
they just have to take their turn because he's got songs to sing. A sore
throat doesn't worry him, anyone who tackles a Tim Buckley song knows all
about vocal range and how to use it best.

His guitar is as wonderful as his playing. It looked and sounded like a
strange cross between a Martin and a Gibson, a blond face, with rich
mahogany sides and back and a little tasteful patterning around the edge: a
Gibartin or a Martson, something strange, but, in fact, it turned out to be
a handmade English guitar. Boy did it ring. There's nothing flashy about
Jack's playing, it's lean, always adding to the song, lifting it, always
acknowledging the impact of timing, the feel of space around the notes. He
understands intuitively when to allow a run to evoke a sense of occasion,
when to drop in a little Doc Watson or Maybelle Carter, always allowing a
chord to hang around for a while to make an acquaintance become a friend.
Every note sang, every chord hummed, he has an innate sense of rhythm,
syncopation, always spare, always rich, partly the guitar, always the
player, strings ringing like a mission bell calling the faithful.

I don't add much to my record collection these days, I've got old and cranky
and mean with my money and my musical time over the years. But Jack Hudson
can take a walk through my record collection any time he likes - he'll even
find himself there, in his rightful place, among his equals.

Neil Dalton