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With half of Lindisfarne having scampered off to form Jack The Lad, Alan Hull's first solo venture, recorded with cohorts Ray Jackson and Kenny Craddock, was first released in 1973. Reissued to mark the tenth anniversary of Hull's death, Pipedream is by far his most self-assured work: the playing and production beingless folk-driven than on Lindisfarne's classic early albums.
Most of the tracks deal with real-life situations, around themes that permeated much of Hull's writing over the years -booze, relationships, politics - and this gives them an earthy colour. "Breakfast", a morning-after tale of waking up with your mistress, kicks off the album with an energetic humour. The similarly comic "Country Gentleman's Wife" was inspired by the posh housewives he met back in the 60s, as he cleaned windows in one of Newcastle's richer quarters. The story, he once explained, is one that could have happened, but didn't.
Hull was a conscious voice for the underdog and the working man and woman. "Money Game" and "Song For A Windmill" are paradigmatic of his peculiarly northern English take on the protest song: caustic fables of mill owners and brass in pocket. "Drug Song", which became a staple in Hull's live set until his death in 1995, was one of his personal favourites and one he considered (rightly) to be among his best. Although Hull admitted that it was written under the influence, it's neither pro nor anti drugs.
The beautifully cracked and broken "I Hate To See You Cry", which closed the original album, is now followed by some B-sides and tracks from a 1974 BBC session. "Dan The Plan" and "One More Bottle Of Wine" both surfaced on Hull's second solo set, Squire. After Pipedream, Hull never again articulated such pathos and passion. --Rob Webb
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