Tom Hingley: Thames Valley Delta Blues

~ Thursday, 8 October 2009
As front man for the much venerated Inspiral Carpets, he was the voice of one of the most iconic bands to emerge from the 90's 'Madchester' scene and arguably one of its finest live bands. Many people expected Tom's solo work to be... well, Inspiral Carpets mark II, but the reality is a million miles away from the organ fueled music the band was famed for. His debut, Keep Britain Untidy was an acoustic album recorded live in the studio. No overdubs. No studio trickery. Just vocals and guitar. Thames Valley Delta Blues is conceived through the same ideals.

The one thing that strikes you straight away is that voice. Sweet and pure, ranging between baritone and falsetto with faultless grace. Completely unexpected, but completely captivating.
As with Keep Britain Untidy, the lyrics on this album deals with a particular period in Hingley's life. Here it deals with his relationships with his children, his partner and his friends. Given that Hingley is an articulate orator, you feel like a bit of a voyeur watching from a distance on the intimate details of his life.

As we said before, the music is a big departure from his Inspiral days. There is a mellowness to all 15 songs that has perhaps came with age to the once angry young man, but you feel Hingley has fought his battles and is happy with his lot. There are some songs of great beauty contained here. Thirst Born, Don't Want To Be A Fighter Any More and Tiny Babies show Hingley to be a modern day Woodie Guthrie or Pete Seeger. A beat poet for the 21st century.

Hingley may always be overshadowed by his former band, but that is a pity. He has something to say and it is worth listening to. This is folk music for the modern world, but without the pretension. I like it a lot.

[][][][] (4/5)