David McWilliams

Reflections of David McWilliams

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The Reflections of David McWilliams differs from RPM's previous McWilliams anthology, The Days of David McWilliams, as it's a career-spanning collection, rather than focusing exclusively on his late-'60s work for the Major Minor label. Wisely, too, there's no repetition of tracks between the volumes, although about half of Reflections of David McWilliams is taken from 1966-1969 releases (including his 1966 debut single, "God and My Country"/"Blue Eyes"). The same comments and criticisms, however, that held true of the work on Reflections of David McWilliams also apply here. McWilliams' brand of pop/rock-folk is at times a little reminiscent of Donovan's, but far more lightweight, and without nearly as strong a vocal personality. Protest folk-pop is heard on "God and My Country," but usually he opted for more gentle, introspective, romantic singer/songwriting with orchestration that could lean toward the fruity (and, on "Turn Homeward Stranger," strongly recall recordings of the period by Bob Lind). The 1977-1984 era, represented by six tracks (his albums for Dawn in 1972-1974 aren't sampled), finds his compositional style unchanged but his production becoming more in tune with later singer/songwriter trends, and for the most part blander. (Incidentally, whether the flaw is in the original recording or the transfer, the sole 1984 track, "Wounded," sounds afflicted by tape varispeed.) For the small band of David McWilliams fans who have most or all of his work already, the big bonus is the addition of five previously unreleased home demos from 1972, originally submitted as songs to be considered for his album The Beggar & the Priest. Of these, "Nana Get Up and Get Out of This Place" was redone for his The Beggar & the Priest LP, but the other four were not on McWilliams' other releases (though a poem of "The Beggar and the Priest" appeared on the album of the same name). These are acoustic performances with minimal percussion, which works to the earnest, folky tunes' benefit, although the fidelity is a little below par.

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