I remember driving Rich Mullins across a few States in America. We had spent some of our time together listening to rough mixes of the soon to released A Liturgy, A Legacy & a Ragamuffin Band. We loved the rawer sound. The strings had not been added yet. When we left Rich to go our separate ways my last words were, “No strings Rich. No strings.” The final mix had strings!
I remember as a University student turning up The Jam’s Setting Sons and Sound Affects to loud and loving the new wave thud of a three piece rock band at its edgiest best.
So here I am 26 years after that car journey, nearly 40 after The Jam rocked my world and I am listening to Paul Weller with strings… and brass! Have I gone soft… or matured in my taste to declare that I love it!
Weller’s most recent studio record True Meanings really caught my ear. I loved its near gentle craft. Songs like Gravity set Weller alongside Bacharach et al. Even better the orchestral parts on that record and all over this live album were arranged by a Northern Irish woman Hannah Peel.
Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall just as critical success was declared over True Meanings it is understandable that the set list concentrates on the songs from that acoustically shaped record. The rest of the set list stayed away from the hits.
Yes, it would have been wrong to leave out Have You Ever Had It Blue and You Do Something To Me for this kind of reworking, the string on the latter are particularly exquisite, but The Jam picks are Private Hell, Boy About Town and the b-side, brilliant and all as it was Tales From The Riverbank. The solo Wildwood is just gorgeous in this setting.
it all works beautifully. It’s another musical chapter in Weller’s constant sonic shifts. I imagine that his next work will be loud and experimental but I could take a longer phase of this style for sure. If Fitzroy ever do a Gospel According To… Paul Weller then you can be sure that May Love Travel With You will be up front and centre. It’s the most spiritual of benedictions to this concert set:
Have grace to see the virtues
Give thanks to them sometimes
And may love travel with you
Forever and all time