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James William Hindle | s/t (Badman)
Yorkshire-born Hindle crossed the Atlantic to record his debut album in the legendary Haight district of San Francisco, home of Badman Recordings. Badman supremo Dylan Magierek had included Hindle’s respectful rendition of Whispering Jesse on the acclaimed ‘Take Me Home’ tribute to John Denver, and was presumably enamoured enough to offer his engineering skills and studio space to the songwriter. Whilst the presence of vocalist Paula Frazer and former American Music Club drummer Tim Mooney add marketing appeal, this is very much Hindle’s album. Fragile of voice and not one to shy away from sentiment, his six original compositions sit proud beside the inspired covers of the Bee Gees’ I Started A Joke and Glen Campbell’s Less of Me. From the slow-building intro of Down and Able, to the string-led sparseness of (Masks), the arrangements are impeccably judged, mostly built around a gently strummed, open-tuned, acoustic guitar that belies the British folk tradition, underpinned by brushed percussion, understated bass-lines and embellishments of cautious cello, restrained electric guitar and vocal harmonies. Through it all shines an undeniable pop sensibility, a wistful lyricism (“And I see your face in the things we bought / And I miss you more than I ever thought”) and an assurance that these songs will endure.
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002