Tom Yates - Love is Losing Ground: Review
|It’s a lie that we’re living,|
That’s the simple truth of this condition,
We’ll kill a sparrow for a penny,
Go to war to save the pound,
To feed the few we’ll starve the many
Love is losing ground.
As a commentary on the twisted values of the 21st century, the above isn't half bad. Yet the opening lines of Love is Losing Ground were written around three decades ago by Tom Yates on the album of that name which has been released posthumously by Epona records.
Yates was active in North West folk clubs in the 1960s and 70s before moving to Antwerp in the early eighties, where this collection of songs was recorded. It has been digitally remastered by John Constantine, a friend of Yates’s to restore the sound quality to what it would have been that time.
This isn’t the sort of music that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands to listened to, but it’s worth persevering with. After a couple of times through, all becomes clear. Yates’s has an ear for a fine melody and his lyrics are out of the ordinary.
In terms of style, the album switches between lightly picked electric guitar, such as on the title track, high capo-ed acoustic pattern picked finger style on Godspeed, with a touch of the exotic on Tango Valentino, a number that starts (as you’d expect) with a tango rhythm, before morphing into rock and roll. However the highlight is Mishka Madou, with its soaring high harmonies and sense of freedom . Uplifting stuff.
Love is Losing Ground will be a welcome reminder for those who witnessed Tom Yates first time round, yet he may acquire new admirers too. The material is highly accessible and if produced today would sit on the border between folk and the mainstream. Well worth a visit.
Other Epona News
Tom Yates's 1973 LP Love Comes Well Armed has been released under license on Epona Records with the license granted by Henry Hadaway of HHO.
Also just released is Mike Billington’s solo album Sol Invictus with session musicians Mickey Van Gelder, Phil Davenport, Bram Taylor, Fiona Simpson, Shelley Rainey, Karen Dyson, Bill Pook, Nicola Smalley, Ruth Spargo, Rebecca Millington and ex Fairport/Tull maestro Maartin Allcock.
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