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Sam Sallon

Kathy’s Song EP

Being a four-track EP from singer-songwriter Sam Sallon…..

In the mid-Sixties, BBC Television ran a series called ‘Adam Adamant’ starring the suave matinee idol Gerald Harper as a Victorian-era architect of the series title frozen by a villain in a showdown in the Nineteenth Century but then defrosted to continue life with dolly bird  assistant in Swinging Sixties London. A man out of time, continuing to battle crime, swordstick et al. Very entertaining it was, too.  That same time machine has obviously been used to lift guitarist and singer Sam Sallon from his natural habitat, Kings Road London in 1971 to present day England. Hey if you don’t believe me look at early Seventies shots of Sallon’s contemporary  Marc Ellington (now a Scottish laird) in HIS dark clothes and GuyFawkes hat….

However Sam arrived here, he and his songs are engaging and as you’ll see from our EP launch photos a striking if somewhat mysterious character. His spidery guitar fingerwork and earnest vocal tone will lead to the inevitable lazy comparisons to the late lost folkster Nick Drake. But he’s nothing like him. I once spent a hour talking to Nick’s actress sister Gabriella Drake about him and she said Nick never found what he was looking for, whatever that was. But that’s another story.

Lead cut here is Sallon’s version of a Paul Simon number ‘Kathy’s Song’ – he keeps it breezy and tuneful, but this listener prefers the other self-penned cuts. Notably ‘You Are Home’ which has a warm and nimble vocal over acoustic guitar tapestry – few accompany themselves solo on guitar as well as this chap does – on a truly lovely and personal song. Masterful yet sounding utterly natural and free of artifice. Something about Sallon makes me think of late afternoon in an English seaside town.

In complete contrast, ‘War’ is an edgy  live performance, dark and ominous with sparse strings and deep register guitar with shimmering tremelo’d electric guitar slashes overlaid. A protest song delivered with subtle bite and which doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Then we‘re straight into a country garden, birdsong included and a sweeping baroque string arrangement and unless my ears fool me a blend of acoustic guitar and harpsichord or clavichord.  High register singing here with a ( I suspect deliberately) just-attainable key which bursts with airy passion and a real troubadour’s delivery.  Happening in the here and now but could be from any of the last few decades.  Best of all, not part of this dreadful Bisto Kids neo-folk thrashalong Mumford axis where brown tweed poses as authenticity and banjo’s are used as assault weapons on the eardrums.

This, friends has obvious roots but sounds to these ears as fresh as a daisy…

A brief post-showcase chat with Sallon gives us a chance to mention an artist that he seems on this hearing to have a tinge of – US psych genius Arthur Lee. Sam it transpires is indeed a fan of Lee’s band Love and I suggest any Lee fans check these tracks out, as lurking in here is a rare folkrock sensibility. A full album is coming, we can’t wait to hear it, not least because the other songs he played were probably better than these, even

Pete Sargeant        

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