It is quite upsetting to reveal that I had to discover the existence of this Cd through an Amazon search. Be thankful for small mercies. With this release James Grant succeeds all expectations with a collection of well crafted and beautifully written songs which, as always, tell it like it is. You may think that love comes easy, Grant sings of the real world. To tell of loss and regrets may not sound the most appetising of CDs but, when you consider the musicianship that accompanies each track, patience is rewarded. Improving upon each listen, it is great to report that proper songwriting exists in this increasingly anodyne world. For those of you that never heard the early Nineties craftsmenship of "Love and Money" this is a fine starting place...
I was a huge fan of Love and Money after first hearing 'River Of People' somewhere in 1986 heading down to Bournemouth in the car. I always think thats the mark of a great tune when you can remember exactly what you were doing when you hear it for the first time.
Love and Money were exceptionally good at knocking out quality music, you only have to buy a copy of their most successful release 'Strange Kind Of Love' (1988) to find that out! James Grant was the driving force and chief songwriter for the band. They enjoyed moderate success with the album 'Dogs In The Traffic' (1991) culminating in the now classic single 'Winter' winning awards and being a number of high profile DJ's 'single of the week'. Things came to an end after the final release 'Little Death' (1993) having had bags of critical acclaim, well recieved concerts all over Europe and an extended loyal fan base.
This release came along just I was beginning to wonder if we had heard the last of James Grant. Released in 1998 it was if he had never been away! The songs are strong, melodic and sung with a voice that just melts the ears. Fellow Love and Money musicians accompany him on this recording, they achieve a different sound that is bordering on Folk with a Country and Western twang added along with extremely catchy melodies. 'All Her Saturdays' 'Pray The Dawn' 'This Is The Last Time' and 'If You Love Me, Leave Me Alone' are all done in this style. 'Hide' 'Is Anybody Dreaming About Me' and 'No Chicane' would not have been out of place on any previous Love and Money album. The title track is the standout song for me with references to the circus being somehow related to his own drive to entertain no matter how tired and worn out everything is.
James Grant dosn't set the charts a light, but whoever buys a copy of this album will find that their lives will be richer and better for it, lets hope he continues to produce music of this standard for years to come.
If you only ever buy one James Grant CD, then this is it. Sublime from start to finish, every track has something special and, I assure you, this is an Album you will return to again-and-again.
For me, the stand out tracks are: Pray The Dawn, Sawdust in My Veins and the exquisite, This is The Last Time. That's not to diminish the other tracks, as I would love to have written any of them myself! Simply a stunning Album and my own personal favourite CD of James'.
Try to get hold of the acoustic version of 'Walk The Last Mile', with Karen Matheson sharing the vocal duties and a haunting Cello line going through it too. Some other acoustic tracks of old (and new) favourites were available on the James Grant Web Site, last time I looked. FREE!
Something to savour in the quiet hours of the evening...like I said at the beginning...sublime!
This album is billiant. It's dark, it's melodic, the poetic words, the guitar playing and the voice are all breathtaking. The greatest beauty is in the darkest moments. 'I Can't Stop Bleeding', 'I Don't Know You Anymore' (check out that guitar solo) and 'If You Love Me, Leave Me Alone' are the highlights for me. And how does anyone pluck an acoustic guitar like that with a plectrum ('Pray the Dawn' and 'This is the Last Time')?
There's a wonderful sense of accomplished irony and self-deprecation about this album and I want it played at my funeral.
Some music can sound appealing immediately, then you go off it. The test of really good music is when you have lived with it for some years. This is one of those few albums that i go back to again and again. James Grant is a very good singer, an excellent guitarist, and a terrific songwriter, and this album is probably my favourite piece of work by him. Probably the thing that shines through most brightly is the man's intelligence and thoughtfulness, as can be clearly sensed in his wonderful lyrics. So why is he not better known and more appreciated? Who can say? I guess his work is more thoughtful and timeless, rather than of-the-now and shallow, so maybe that makes it less immediately appealing and requiring a wee bit more effort. Believe me, this is worth the effort. James Grant has produced quality music for years now, through various group and solo incarnations. I can thoroughly recommend "Strange Kind of Love" by Love and Money - the album that should have given him the kind of major commercial success he deserves. Give this album or, really, any of the music he has created over the years - from Friends Again through Love and Money to the solo work - a try. You have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain.
It is good for the soul to listen to someone who is still writing and playing exceptional music. As I fan of "Love & Money" I enjoyed bits of their material but other bits I didn't. Grant still gets a bit maudlin, but he is a craftsman throughout. If you want high qaulity tunes, without any pretentions, then buy this CD!
Having first encountered James Grant on "Transatlantic Sessions", I decided to try one of his albums. Choosing this one merely because it had "Cure for Life" on it, I am blown away by this man's talent. His voice his diction, his incredibly insightful lyrics, together with a beautifully understated accompaniment make for a listening experience not to be missed.