Dave Sharp is probably best known for his role as lead guitarist with The Alarm – a post punk band keen to rebuild music back in the eighties. The band became popular in the states, they toured with Bob Dylan and U2. This latest solo album by Dave was recorded live at The Victoria pub in Colchester on a cold Sunday evening in November just days before a US presidential election that will make interesting reading in the history books of the future.
The album was totally unrehearsed and comprises a collection of Sharp’s own work alongside classics from Guthrie, Dylan and McCullough.
It is that opening track of Guthrie’s ‘Ain’t Got No Home’ that grabs you by the throat and screams – have we learned nothing from history? It could be a modern ballad about Syrian refugees but it fact it’s origins are in an old gospel song. Sharp’s own ‘Downtown America’ conjures up visions of an America more real than some politicians would have us believe – we should indeed say a prayer for the common man who on this side of the Atlantic is just about managing.
‘The Cliffs of Duneen’ at first, to me seemed out of place. I have a sentimental attachment to a particular version of that song. That sentimentality has blinded me to the songs deeper meaning and I have Dave to thank for making me revisit it – the Irish emigrants fantasy.
This is an album sung with passion with Dave’s recognisable, slightly guttural rendition. The sleeve notes talk of apprehension and uncertainty – given the history of some of the eleven tracks, will we ever be otherwise? The unrehearsed nature of the recording gives it a raw, natural feel which songs like this should have.
‘Dave Sharp – live at The Vic’ is available from Little London Records, check out www.DaveSharp.org for more details.