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4.7 out of 5 stars37
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 November 2008
Does the world need another grumpy middle-aged man singing about how modern life is rubbish? When the songwriter is as good as Henry Priestman, the answer is definitely "Yes".

Priestman's ability to marry catchy tunes with savage but witty lyrics is in evidence right from opening track and first single "Don't You Love Me No More?" - with its singalong R-E-D-U-N-D-A-N-T chorus it may be the first great credit crunch song. In a similar vein are songs like "No to the Logo", "Did I fight in the Punk Wars for this?" and my personal favourite "It's called a Heart", a stinging attack on management-speak.

But apart from the cynicism is a strong romantic thread, typified by songs like "Grey is the New Blonde" and "What You Doin' with Me?". And for all old New Wave fans (if that's not a contradiction) is a hidden reworking of "Suffice To Say".

Comparisons are often odious, but if you're a fan of Ray Davies, Nick Lowe, The Beautiful South or Edwyn Collins you'll find much to enjoy here.
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I bought this album a few days ago and haven't been able to stop playing it. Seriously. I have a small pile of albums which I haven't listened to and yet I keep on deciding to repeat play Henry Priestman's album instead, it's that good. Like a songwriting cross between Ray Davies and Malcolm Middleton with slightly Jaggeresque vocals, "The Chronicles Of Modern Life" is a brilliantly written, captivating listen which comments on and, more than often, protests against all of the trappings of contemporary life, such as redundancy (Don't You Love Me No More), getting old (Old, Grey's The New Blonde), relationships (What You Doin' With Me, He Ain't Good Enough For You) and corporate, homogenous life (No To The Logo, It's Called A Heart). Although the lyrical theme of this release is slightly world weary and cynical, the subjects are tackled with humour, wit and a knowing wisdom, so it is never anything other than an uplifting and yet bittersweet listen. The music is excellent as well, each toe-tapping song having a brilliant melodic hook and the style being indie/alternative rock with a slight country edge from time to time.

Born in 1955 in Hull, Priestman has been in the music business since the late 70's and has worked as a session musician, songwriter and record producer for other artists as well as being a member of The Christians, so it is fair to say that his debut album has been a long time coming, but it has been well worth waiting for. This is virtually a one-man album, with Henry playing all of the instruments himself, with a few exceptions on selected tracks and, with its warm, accessible feel, is a real joy to listen to from beginning to end. Although I'm sure that anybody could derive great enjoyment from this album, I think it will strike a chord with the over-30s and those with experience of many of the ups and downs life can dish out. It will also especially appeal to those with a bit of an anti-establishment attitude, with numerous caustic observations about the sheep who follow the flock.

Henry Priestman, together with his co-writer Tom Gilbert, has made an exceptional album and, without a doubt, one of the best you will hear this year. I only hope that we won't have to wait another thirty years for a follow-up! Highly recommended.
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on 10 June 2009
The Chronicles Of Modern Life

My wife gave me this amazing CD for my birthday. Henry Priestman is new to me and I wasn't sure what to expect. The tracks are so meaningful, Henry must have been inside my head when he wrote them. It's now a favourite for listening to in the car. I can't recommend this CD more highly and have told my wife she can choose all my new music from now on.
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on 5 June 2009
I bought this album about 6 weeks ago after hearing one song on the radio. It's one of the best albums I have ever bought. I can't recommend it enough. I haven't listened to anything else since.
The lyrics on one hand are full of humour and make you laugh out loud, and the next, full of emotion.
The best bit about this album are the lyrics. There is a song for everyone, although my favourite is 'Old'. The line 'I'm the same age that my father was when I first thought he was old' is brilliant, I bet everyone listening to that song can relate to it in one way or another.
I have recommended it to all my friends and I recommend it to anyone reading this as something different, enjoyable, and true to life. Before you know it you'll be singing along to every song.
Enjoy and let's hope there is another album coming along soon.
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on 13 May 2009
A brilliant CD by a singer 'discovered' at the age of 54; with a balding head and a John Lennon cap he is uncomfortable with his new found fame. Reviewed and interviewed in both the Times and Telegraph the lyrics and music have a Dylan quality to them whilst 'He ain't good enough' and 'Grey's the new blonde' will bring a tear. Go on the web and see him sing live the opening track 'Don't you love me no more'about redundancy spelling misery. It is said he recorded this in his spare room and the dinner bought for him by a journalist was dearer than the production cost of the CD.Let's hope there will be more.
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on 13 May 2009
Brilliant lyrics with a balance of satire and pathos. Of great appeal to those of us who can still hack it but are becoming a bit frayed round the edges. Took a punt at this having heard the first track on the radio and what a great find. Hope Henry has some more of this material for us in the future.
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on 6 March 2014
Henry Priestman has been round the block a bit. Been round a few blocks, in fact, having worked with bands and artists as diverse as The Yachts, It's Immaterial, The Christians and Eleanor MCEvoy, to name just a few favourites. Common denominator? Quality.
Henry knows the in and outs of how to construct a song, and is more than happy to share that knowledge with fellow artists, aspiring musicians, the young at heart, and the morose and the grumpy middle-aged too.
These songs capture the essence of a life lived well - tales not from the fast lane, so much as the middle one, where you're content to let the daft youngsters in the flash Audis whizz past, with the occasional rueful glance in the mirror at a face no longer youthful nor brimming with confidence.
It's as if Pete Townshend had woken up one day and re-written 'My Generation' - not for snaky young Mods, but seasoned pros, mums and dads who've known highs and lows, and are living in their empty nests with passions dimmed but still latent.
In short, it's where Elbow are heading: songs of experience. And it's lovely.
If you want to spend a morning or evening in the company of a gently mocking, self-deprecating songsmith of depth and craft, offering wry, warm and gently uplifting songs that will make you smile and sigh, you'll love this.
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on 30 August 2009
Sort of Ray Davies meets Nick Lowe meets Neil Hannon meets Donovan meets your favourite British Songwriter. A wry, pithy, ironic,intelligent, humorous and well crafted set of songs. Also, he "doesn't miss and hit the wall" with his well aimed blasts. Definitely an album for dads,men married for say at leat 25 years, men with children, listeners to Radio 4 (as well as R2), those who do not suffer fools gladly (and why the hell do we??)and, surprisingly..in no way Meldrewish. I have just missed seeing him in Coatbridge..I know I will regret it for ever..the "idiot" applies!!
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on 5 July 2009
This is one of the most thought provoking albums i've heard in years. the musicianship is top drawer and the songs make me feel good because i know there is someone out there who shares my thoughts. where has Henry been all my life.
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on 5 March 2009
Heard "Grey is the New Blonde" one evening on Radio 2. Before it had finished playing I was on-line and ordering a copy. Without a doubt it is one of my favourite CDs of 2008, in fact there are still not many days when I don't listen to it in my car. If you're a fan of Kris Kristofferson, as I am, then I'm sure you'll appreciate this album.

The Redundant song is one of my personal favourites, I love the ending. Looking forward to seeing him live.
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