Phil James - A Time And A Place

Published Monday 1st July 2013
Phil James - A Time And A Place
Phil James - A Time And A Place

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 139444-20660
LABEL: LPW
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Welsh singer, songwriter and prison chaplain Phil is hardly prolific. In his decades of music making he has recorded only four albums. But Welsh radio listeners will know that his skillfully crafted songs exude memorability and powerful insights to the human condition with the occasional glimpse of hope (as he sings on the haunting opener, it "Doesn't Have To Be This Way"). On 'A Time And A Place' Phil's warm voice is enhanced by an organic production from his long time musical associate Andrew Coughlan which brings out the strength of lyric and melody. It's hard to select the standouts but I would suggest the piano-led narrative song of someone making wrong decisions "Play With Fire", the heartbeat tempo'd "Promises To Keep" and the powerful depiction of the tragedy of "Aberfan" with its chilling denouncement of the mine owners' guilt ("Innocence was sacrificed for profit and for gain"). "Moses At Ystradfellte" is another narrative gem depicting a joyful man who didn't come back from the First World War while "Grace" is an utterly believable confessional of a man stricken by regret and guilt who finds relief ("every time I close my eyes I see providence"). Even the packaging of this outstanding album is above average (though I'd have appreciated the lyrics). All in all, the best ever album from one of Christendom's most underrated talents.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Doesn't Have To Be This Way [Listen]
2. Promises To Keep [Listen]
3. Play With Fire [Listen]
4. Aberfan [Listen]
5. Moses At Ystradfellte [Listen]
6. Just Not The Same [Listen]
7. Grace [Listen]
8. Blind Faith [Listen]
9. It's Her [Listen]
10. Woman [Listen]
11. Oxwich Revisited [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

Reader Comments

Posted by mark lewis in llanelli @ 12:11 on Sep 27 2016

I am a huge fan of Jackson Browne, but Phil is up there with best ! This is indeed a remarkable album , with every colour and nuance possible . I have laughed and cried in equal measure. the song content is varied and compelling. This combined with Phil's excellent vocals and the well crafted musicianship,. Its a winner ! My favourite track "Blind Faith". an inspiration to those young and old. Whether you are starting out on "life's ladder", or a little way further on the journey, the message , so powerful in this song remains, about making the most of the talent you have and that everyone is indeed special and unique. There are many who may have given up, when the dice life throws them is "loaded". Blind Faith" tells them no, there is a way.. BELIEVE. I wish I had heard this song when I was teaching..it sums all the inspirational speeches I ever made. There are so many other songs here too, which leave you transfixed to the message like " "Abervan",which I remember happening , as a schoolboy myself, and "Moses at Ystradfelte. Amazing!!



Posted by Barrie Philip Cole in United Kingdom @ 12:21 on Jul 2 2013

I concur, Phil is a man with great songwriting talents, this album is his latest and best so far and surely his day will come soon.
Buy this album and if you haven't already heard it, delve into his back catalogue, you won't be disappointed.



Posted by Phil james in Bridgend @ 23:00 on Jul 1 2013

Thanks Tony. I'm bowled over by the review and the constructive comments! High praise indeed from one so experienced.
The "joyful man" in Moses of Ystradfellte by the way was my grandfather who was declared Missing In Action. He actually survived but not before they wrote to his mother informing her of his death! Having being poisoned by mustard gas and shrapnelled at 19, he was nursed back to health by nuns. He returned to life in S Wales, living on one lung, became a local singing celebrity, and died at the ripe old age of 82! He became one of my strongest musical influences!



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