Paul Stephenson
"These Days"
by Johanna J. Bodde


PAUL STEPHENSON  "These Days" (Stockfisch Records)

For the connoisseurs I actually just have to make the announcement, that there's another CD released in the series of producer Gunter Pauler. While they're going on their way to fetch a copy, I can explain to the other music lovers what they might expect. A singer-songwriter, in this case Englishman Paul Stephenson, who already saw his earlier CD "Light Green Ball" released on the Stockfisch label. He brings us eleven relaxed -nicely rippling like a brooklet- self-penned folksongs, his voice is reminiscent of James Taylor. The recording technics are the refined cream of the crop, there are "audiophile collecters" who buy the CD's only for this reason! The songs are arranged in a particularly fine way, every instrument is perfectly balanced in the mix.

Besides Paul himself, who plays his acoustic guitar, we find here the regular musicians of Stockfisch, guitarplayer extra-ordinaire Chris Jones was still around for these recordings, virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Beo Brockhausen, Hans-Jorg Maucksch on fretless bass, Siard de Jong (violins, mandolin, mandola), singer-songwriter Mike Silver takes care of the backing vocals and concluding piece "Big Meeting Day" is sent off with horns for the sound of the "marching band", shading off into fireworks.

The CD-booklet comes with all possible information and photographs to match. Paul's lyrics are simple and tell about people he knows ("Engineering Frank" is a very strong one, I think and "The Making Of Zachary" has a boy from Amsterdam in the leading part), also about events he witnessed. "Millionaire" has a dry sense of humor and "Captain Of The Loving Kind" is over-the-top sentimental, but the pilot who landed his jumbo in Goose Bay, just to have a baby transported to the hospital, was one of KLM's (Royal Dutch Airlines) finest!

Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.