STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING 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.
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