David McWilliams

Singing Songs by David McWilliams

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The debut album by the Irish singer was on Donovan's label, and given the similarity of the folk-pop/rock-baroque production to that heard on Donovan's records of the era, that might not be a coincidence. McWilliams was an adequate, yet unexceptional, singer/songwriter in the mold of early Donovan, though his lyrics were more in the style of the very early artist, rather than the psychedelic one. There's quite a debt to early Bob Dylan too, although the melodies and arrangements are far more on the side of the previously mentioned artist. It sounds as though McWilliams played Dylan songs like "Gates of Eden," "The Times They Are a-Changin'," and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" over and over again, and ditto for Donovan tunes like "Colors." Those are good lessons to absorb, but it's not a good idea to try and emulate them without anything close to the melodic gifts of Donovan, or the lyrical gifts of both of those figures. As an early British folk-pop/rock effort, it has some historical interest, but it's too mild and faceless to register with any force. The musical director, incidentally, was Mike Leander, most famous for his work on early Marianne Faithfull recordings.