Michael Chapman

Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor

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This two-for-the-price-of-one CD package is quite a deal, featuring a pair of really classic albums by Michael Chapman, backed by a band that includes Mick Ronson before he met Bowie and a pre-Steeleye Rick Kemp on bass. The songs themselves are excellent, such as "Postcards of Scarborough" and "Kodak Ghosts," two high points of the Chapman canon. But there are some tasty instrumentals, too, like "Thank You P.K. 1944." Chapman's voice is as raw as millstone grit, gloriously abrasive -- but it perfectly suits the material, while his fluid and imaginative guitar work easily strides beyond folk music, the net over which Ronson can perform his high-wire tricks. The rhythm section is agile (albeit in a very '60s way), and everything gels together perfectly to push the songs and tunes along. If you want to sample Chapman, this is an excellent -- and cheap -- way to begin.

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