When The Sunlight Shines

Alun Parry

Album review by Joe Coventry

This is a smashing album in which the best of the human condition is evoked in many guises. Compassion, dignity, love, loss, selfless solidarity and unbridled support are all here.

Alun Parry's band play with an empathy that is infectious. The songs have a folk, country or gospel feel to them, alluding to Bob Dylan, Kirsty MacColl, Gerry Marsden and of course Woody Guthrie. The singing is clear and the backing not overly crowded or complicated despite the wide range of musical accompaniment.

Parry leads on vocals and guitar and is ably assisted by Gabi Monk (vocals), Gina La Faux (violin and mandolin), Stuart Thompson (bass), with John Withnall (drums). There is also room for harmonica, accordion, washboard and kazoo on this 15 track CD.

So what is the album all about?

Docks, railways, mines, building sites and the Health Service are the workplaces. What goes on in them and in the wider context of relationships, accountability, remembrance and pride in who you are, are among the themes addressed here.

The lyrics are lucid and concise, sometimes stridently touching on more than a nerve ('My Name Is Dessie Warren'; 'Julio From Chile'), or collaboratively unifying, ('The Dirty Thirty'; 'If Harry Don't Go').

However more than collective action comes in the form of worth and respect, ('On The Train From Barcelona'), or selfless dedication, ('The Peoples Midwife'). There are songs of loss and thwarted love and in 'Ulysses' a philosophy on how to live life; while 'Oh Mr Cameron' is a swipe at our unelected leaders.

'The Football Song' sums it all up nicely. To win the game you can't take your eye off the ball, must play as a team and still keep on hitting your goals.

When The Sunlight Shines is, all in all, a heart warming listen. The band is now on tour, so catch them if you can.

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