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4.6 out of 5 stars90
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 September 2007
Richard Hawley's latest album is embued with the same romantic retro ambience as his previous ventures. The former Pulp guitarist turned baritone crooner gives a masterclass in classic pop nostalgia, pitting his melancholy Roy Orbison-cum-Scott Walker vocals against beautifully arranged compositions. Whereas he has garnered some criticism for playing it too straight, and for paying homage to his influences too conspicuously, after a couple of listens the strength of the songwriting wins over, with barely a dud track. Those who think this is too mild, not edgy enough, are missing some of the darkness of the lyrics, that recall Lee Hazlewood and, especially on 'Dark Road', Johnny Cash.

From the opener 'Valentine', the lushness of the music evokes a strangely sedative and wistful mood, so disconnected from modern times that it feels oddly haunted. 'Sing me a lullaby cos I'm sleepy' he croons over the dark and breezy atmospherics that recall Lambchop's 'Nixon'. Similarly, 'Roll River Roll' and the title track are rich with imagery, with Hawley intoning the 'deep dark waters' to take him on his 'journey home'. This ancient river, under Lady's Bridge or its metaphorical equivalent, is repeatedly returned to as a central image, a source of release, a vision of peace and even cessation. If you allow the mood of this thematic and atmospheric premise to envelope you, it becomes so much more than just the pastiche it has been unfairly accused of. Hawley takes solace from solitude from this image, something this listener was able to do in his music.

It's not all dark and gloomy however, the faintly rockabilly 'Serious' and 'I'm Looking Forward To Find Me' are toe-tapping (rock 'n' roll) dancefloor numbers. But the highlight for me is the epic mood piece 'The Sea Calls' which drifts in a sea of ocean imagery. Both otherworldly and beautifully melodic, it recalls the floating grandeur of Tim Buckley's 'Buzzin' Fly'. Overall, the richness of the music, and the permanence of the songwriting make for a timeless classic - the first I have heard for some time.
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on 12 September 2007
Exactly. As I said in my review to Coles Corner, after listening to it I decided to purchase all of Mr. Hawley's discography. A great choice. And Lady's Bridge is the best. Great throughout, without decaying a little towards the end, like Coles Corner. This one mixes up the slow trademark songs (Lady Solitude shines especially here) with more uptempo songs (I'm looking for someone to find me or Serious). In this set Mr. Hawley's singing rises another level, sounding very much like Roy Orbison in some tracks (Tonight the streets are ours could have been sung by The big O), and like Elvis in others (Serious, for example), no less!
An extraordinary CD, that mixes blues, rockabilly and classic ballads with really gorgeous arrangements for orchestra (Our darkness), with, of course, great guitars (Lady SOlitude, The sun refused to shine).
Superb, amazing, excellent.
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If there is a better songwriter and vocalist at work in Britain today, I'd like to hear about it. His debut mini album "Richard Hawley" was a tantalising glimpse of what was to come and his three follow up albums confirmed him as a singer songwriter par excellence. To continue that brilliance into a fifth album, "Lady's Bridge" is a towering achievement.

Whatever fame he gained as a bass guitarist with Pulp is completely overshadowed by his glorious solo work.

The dark, lonesome lyrics of "Lady's Bridge" speaking of loss, solitude, yearning and forlorness are brought alive by his warm, rich baritone and beautiful, soaring melodies suggesting that there is hope and redemption just around the corner.

There is a timelessness to Richard Hawley's music that defies the 21st century. "Lady's Bridge" showcases Hawley's ability with 6 and 12 string guitar, 8 string lap steel, Tennessee hi-string and hammer dulcimer - brilliant! In addition there is an eclectic range of instruments including vibraphone, bells and glockenspiel as well as beautifully orchestrated strings and the Stocksbridge Brass Band which combine to add a definition to the album that makes it an enchanting and uplifting experience. This is music for any century - don't miss it.
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on 30 August 2007
Richard Hawley is a national treasure: I wish Bob Dylan had listened to Coles Corner before slating every record made in the last twenty-five years, as I feel sure he'd have changed his tune. As for this, his latest release, the phrase that springs most readily to mind is 'steady progress'. The opening track - Valentine - is Hawley at his most sumptuous, recalling strains of Roy Orbison and The Walker Bros, and instantly provides a link (bridge, perhaps) between Coles Corner and the new, slightly more uptempo tracks on Lady's Bridge. Roll River Roll, which follows effortlessly, is as much a career highlight as Coles Corner (the track) itself, drawing together, as it does, all those influences Hawley regularly namechecks (Fred Neil, Lee Hazlewood, et al), and it rolls just like a big river, hemmed-in exquisitely by his own rich baritone. Among the other highlights, The Sea Calls, is as lovely as anything on the recently-rediscovered John Phillips album, and the somewhat understated Our Darkness bursts magnificently into a Walkeresque bridge that is as stunning as it is unexpected, and I only wish there were more of it on this recording. The closing track - The Sun Refused To Shine - is also a belter: one of those shimmery, lost-afternoon pieces that Hawley's immaculate guitar-playing frames so well.
All told, a fine piece of work. The only thing it really lacks is the immediacy of its predecessor: i.e. the songs themselves are not of such a complete standard as Coles Corner (a tough call, after all), but the album provides a perfect bridge between, say, Lowedges and Coles Corner.
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on 20 October 2007
Prior to hearing 'Tonight the Streets are Ours' on Radio 2 I'd never heard of Richard Hawley. On the strength of the excellent single I bought the album and never since I bought Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road many years ago, have I been so impressed by the variety of songs, vocal talent and musicianship and every track a 'nugget'. Hawley's vocals, songwriting and guitar riffs are stunning. In two weeks I bought the rest of his albums. If I'd bought Lady's Bridge on vinyl it would have almost been worn out by now. Richard Hawley is going to be mega!
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on 12 November 2007
If it was not for Jools Holland i would never have known about this artist...Fantastic album,the best i have bought in years.....What a great voice and talent.
The songs just wash over you like silk,with a sound like roy Orbinson and Edwyn Collins you can't go wrong.
I now buying his back cataloge of albums.......
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on 3 October 2007
For the perfect day that you do not want to end, I can think of no finer album than this to sit in a darkened room, single malt in hand, and listen to. The melodies, lyrics and orchestration are superb and to repeat a previous reviewer's comments, are calming and enchanting. If you were to buy only one of his albums produced thus far, this is the one (and I thought Coles Corner was near perfection too!).
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on 17 September 2007
I really loved this album from the very first listen, drawn in by the superb melodies and lilting tunes all delivered with the perfect understated vocals. A wonderful calming collection of songs.
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on 2 March 2008
Firstly, can I just address the title of this review. I have taken the time to read through the other reviews that have been left, mostly paying respect to this amazing album. I am however gobsmacked that some people have labelled it 'Boring'. How can an album as varied as this be boring, listen to 'Serious', Tonight The Streets Are Ours' and 'I'm Looking For Someone To Find Me'. Admittedly yes, these are the more vibrant, upbeat tracks but even during more subdued tracks, just the sheer variation on offer prevents this album from sufferring from any sort of monotony.
For me Richard Hawley is a relatively new dicovery. Although being a long time fan of The Longpigs and having heard 'Born under a bad sign' when it was released a few years back, loving it but never knowing the artist responsible. I HAD to buy Lady's Bridge after hearing 'Serious'. In the 6 months or so since, I have managed to gather together all of his albums and I have to say, they are all corkers. People have said he's made himself more commercial with this latest offering, I feel that he has just continued to develop and explore the possibilities and range of his influences. And if he gets a few singles charting highly, good on him. It just means that there is more of a possibility of the younger generation hearing some of the finest 'Chill Out' music ever produced. Don't think of this album as a follow on or 'continuation' to Coles Corner, (a tough act to follow by anyones standards). Think of this as evolution. beautiful, soaring, foot tapping, crooning, velvetty(?), at times VERY Deep. And certainly not Boring.
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on 11 February 2008
Hawley is from Sheffield--a different England than what London might tell you--and a true romantic. True where true means real. A guitar that Jarvis Cocker was enough to recruit for Pulp's tours, that you can imagine playing in the local pub, lyrics written in wrinkled napkins next to a pint of brew.

I don't that this album is "his best" or "one of his best" but it is wonderful. No song may be a surprise to those who know his work but they'll show their maturity, the clarity of what Hawley likes to play and convey to us. I could even see Orbison or Frank Sinatra nodding if not covering some of these tunes, were they still with us.
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