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Thursday, 18 August 2016


Stephen Dunwoody

Recorded at Haddington and Chicken Shack, Belfast.


Trouble In Mind
Tell It To The One You Love
Black Coffee
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Black Is The Colour
Maybe I’m Mistaken
Night Train
Never Said Goodbye

Stephen Dunwoody is an independent musician who has supported numerous international acts during a 20-year career, including Jools Holland, Vonda Shepherd, Wishbone Ash, The Corrs, Tom Robinson, Kirsty McColl and Bjorn Again.

I am old enough to remember the shocking news of the 1975 ambush by the UVF of the Miami Showband. Singer Fran O’Toole, trumpeter Brian McCoy and guitarist Tony Geraghty were murdered. Two others were wounded. Brian McCoy was Stephen Dunwoody’s uncle.

The song Miami reflects on a trip Stephen made to Florida and, while not dwelling on the the terrible atrocity, his memories are interwoven with references to his uncle and the band. It is a powerful song, a memorable song made even more so by Linley Hamilton’s spine-tingling trumpet playing. It is the stand out track on a quite amazing album.

In terms of quality and effect, there are other strong tracks on what in essence is a moody, broody, soulful work introduced by a terrific opener, Trouble in Mind, reinforced by an incredible cover of Feeling Good and complemented by a great version of Black is the Colour. Black Coffee is a melancholy song of solitude that contrasts with the chug-chug enthusiasm of Night Train and the bounce of Tell It to the One You Love, perhaps the most radio-friendly song here.

Throughout the album, the moods change but what doesn’t change is the power of Stephen Dunwoody’s vocals, his mastery of the piano and the clarity of the arrangements. Sometimes the songs are spare and (in corporate-speak) the ‘less is more’ notion works a treat. I listened to the album for the first time and thought: “Okay. Now what have we here?” Ten plays later and I get it. I love its sentimentality and swagger. I love the way it pushes and pulls at emotions. I love Stephen’s ability to inject new life into old songs. I see it as my Sunday morning record – coffee, papers and a perfect soundtrack. (You are encouraged, obviously, to play it on any day of the week!)
I hope radio stations and enlightened presenters give this album airtime and share it as widely as possible. It deserves attention for its distinctiveness and diversity, and as a defining showcase for a superbly talented performer.

Here's a YouTube link to Trouble in Mind track:

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