ham1 At the Captain's Table (CD, £9.50)label: Orange Twin
Broken waltzes, atmospheric ballads and jittery rockers delivered with intelligent and warm words. A ringing attribute of Jim Willingham’s songwriting is that it manages to be both exuberant and high-minded - inviting and literate - all at once. Combining the terse acoustic propulsion of the late-model Feelies with the breezy, half-stoned-on-the-beach pop-ambience of Dean Wareham’s Luna, Willingham nevertheless brings a distinctive Athenian warmth to his Captain’s Table. It figures: there are horn-charts and string-sections, burst veins of Link Wray-ish guitarplay, pastoral keyboard-drones, tremulous bits of Hawaiian slack-key guitar and some country-fried saunter up under the rhythm section. Chiefly, though, there’s that friendly storytelling voice - half-sung, half-spoken – escorting you through the broken waltzes, atmospheric ballads and jittery rockers, all.
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