Peter Blegvad

Just Woke Up

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Just Woke Up marked a kind of comeback to the music scene for Peter Blegvad, who had been enjoying a successful career as a cartoonist in the early '90s. It also announced a change in direction. On this and his subsequent release, Hangman's Hill, the former Slapp Happy singer stripped down his arty avant-garde suit to dive into rootsy folk songs. It resulted in a collection of beautiful pieces with blues and country flavors. Lyrics are still pure Blegvad. Irony is often at the center of his social commentaries and his voice can't help but conjure up the image of a British Bob Dylan. The title track could be the result of an acoustic cross-pollination between John Lennon and the Talking Heads. If the music is simpler and more straightforward, it still features great musicianship, thanks to sidemen John Greaves and Chris Cutler, a star drummer in free improvisation and experimental circles, heard here in one of the most unlikely contexts. The trio is augmented on a few tracks by guests like pedal steel guitarist B.J. Cole and ex-Henry Cow Tim Hodgkinson. Fans of Slapp Happy's zaniness or Blegvad's more exploratory solo albums of the 1980s will be caught off-guard by Just Woke Up, but after a couple of listens the strength of these melodies and beauty of these lyrics will win over any fan of intelligent singer/songwriter music. Compared to its follow-up, Hangman's Hill, this one features more diversity in atmospheres and more inspiration overall -- too bad it didn't bring the mainstream break the artist deserved.

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