CLAIRE HAMILL – A Pocket Full Of Love Songs

Cherry Red 2022

You know how ladies are: smiling her blues away, British songstress reaches into one’s soul to bring tomorrow’s sunshine back.

A Pocket Full Of Love Songs

In the early ’70s, at seventeen, with a string of scintillating folk-informed numbers, she was the belle of Island and saw her platters produced by Chris Blackwell and Paul Samwell-Smith before being courted by Ray Davies at Konk Records where she introduced show tunes to her repertoire only to take a sessions-strewn break afterwards and take proceedings into her own hands, first continuing to work with stellar accompanists and then going totally solo. But while Claire Hamill’s career in the last quarter-century could seem less prominent, this album is apt to turn the tide – not for nothing the chanteuse titled one of its gorgeously grooving pieces “I Got My Mojo Back” and has set the streamlined, glistening “Aphrodite Obscured” as its opener – and if she shifted her usually unique sound towards Americana, here’s an offering to add another aspect to the lady’s multifaceted talent. The result feels endearing to say the least – even the hardest-hardest listener should fall under her spell.

Unashamedly romantic, Claire doesn’t hesitate, however, to go down to the existential nitty-gritty of mundane characters such as “This Woman Is A Mess” depicts with a lot of empathy or to unleash a wondrous swagger to make “You Came Through Time” quite jovial, her lark-like voice, this magnificent instrument, elegantly levitating to deliver warm lyrics over the effervescent net of acoustic, electric and steel guitars, especially when the Shakespeare-quoting “This Duet” flutters to jazzed-up liberty. And though the album’s finely orchestrated titular ballad and the vaudevillian “Turning My Back On Love” bring on sweet nostalgia, the delicate, fragile, flute-flaunting “I’ll Wait For Winter” cuts deep enough to remove smiles from the audience’s faces and introduce mellifluous sadness to the record’s drift and let the assured “Go With The Flow” shimmer so invitingly. Still, it’s a surprise that the crunchy, albeit not a bit raunchy, “Who Cares? (It Feels So Good!)” happily moves into the rockabilly waters, shedding a fresh light on Hamill’s approach to a melody, whereas “Springtime For Lovers” rolls to a new season on a stately, yet brisk, piano ripple, and finds the revitalized hope for the better.

“I’ll never let you do that again,” defiantly states Claire on the coda of one of these songs, suggesting no one can try and steal her magic power – because that’s what genuine ladies must do – turning the deceptively innocent platter into a statement of sorts.


January 28, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
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