Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Michael Chapman

The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the British Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material, he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI's Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.

The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the lead guitar of Mick Ronson (of David Bowie fame) and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp's bass, was John Peel's favorite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman 'hit', "Postcards of Scarborough", a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.
Chapman's 1970 Fully Qualified Survivor should be filed between Roy Harper's Flat Baroque and Berserk, John Martyn's Inside Out, and Bert Jansch's Jack Orion. The perfect album for a winter day and a joint. Now beautifully remastered to CD and restored to vinyl for the first time in decades by Light In The Attic Records.

Meanwhile, fast forward to present and Chapman also had a brand new set of recordings available from the label Tompkins Square; Trainsong : Guitar Compositions 1967-2010 is a 2CD collection of 26 recently-recorded solo guitar versions of tunes spanning his entire career. It is a fascinating look at one of the most prolific and profound guitarists of our time. This release, out one day after his 70th birthday, should finally bring proper attention to this inspiring and masterful musician.

After decades of recording and touring, Chapman remains an obscure figure in the States even though his fan base continues to grow with younger admirers like Devendra Banhart, Alela Diane, and Bill Callahan (Smog) spreading the good word. Recently Michael was interviewed by Thurston Moore in Fretboard Journal, while he also toured extensively with the late guitarist Jack Rose, with whom Michael shared a warm kinship.

$20.00 - $22.00


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