Saturday, March 04, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: Terry Martin - Angel By My Side

Artist: Terry Martin
Title: Angel By My Side

I know that many of you will already recognise this artists name from his work as DJ over at Songplanet and - latterly - his new Indiehitz site. You may even be aware of the song title, or you would be if you are as big a fan of Silvertrain as I am. This then, is Terry's (almost) 'live' version of the Silvertrain standard. Wait, wait.... Gilmore, I ask myself, is this man mad?? Anyone who has the chutzpah to tackle one of 2004's greatest indie tracks has either stones the size of Chicago, or an unbelieveable arrogance that would soon bring him crashing to earth. Although it's not my favourite track from Silvertrain's 2004 CD The One To Blame (One Night Stand and The Night I Died vie for that honour) it is so associated with the band that for someone else to tackle it seems like the height of arrogance. Indeed, in other hands, that might have been the case but I know that Terry also has an undisguised (and long standing) love for both the band and this particular track so seeing him tackle it doesn't seem to sacrilegious as it might have done with another artist.

When I first reviewed the original Silvertrain track (January 2004) I wrote - in my own inimitable way of course - 'I mean, come on already, if this ain't a hit record wtf is?' and I see no further comment I could make betters that. In the intervening time, mind, I have started to understand that this is a GREAT song that anyone worth their salt would want to cover. It's a surprise, in fact, that this hasn't been done long before this and I suspect it has to do with the love most of us feel for the original. So what, then, does Terry bring to this already perfect jewel? Besides the stones the size of Chicago, that is... He's been performing this live - yep a living, [b]gigging[/b] musician - for a few months and it's shows in his professional delivery of this track. It's - obviously - a lot more basic than the original consisting of the man, his geetar and his voice, but nonetheless Terry fills the track up enough with passion and love of the subject (ie the GREAT song, if ya remember that far back...)

T'ain't all beer and skittles though because there are a couple of problem areas that I'm certain Terry is only too well aware of. In fact, I can see him wincing right now... There are a couple of distinct guitar fumbles and notes of the backside variety (think about it) and sometimes the voice gets to feeling a bit desperate for breath but all in all, this is a very commendable effort. To be sure, it's put a slant on an old favourite that I picked up on, so you might too. I think, ultimately, that it's Terry's interpretation of this that puts it over the top, and that kinda depends on whether you like and/or understand this whole man/woman with a guitar thing. I do, because it's where I came from and on that score, Terry is from the old school; precise and knowing when NOT to go overboard and if there is one track around you could go overboard on, Angel By My Side would be it.

Recommended. A welcome and restrained slant on a well loved original.

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