Search - Michael Chapman :: Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor

Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor
Michael Chapman
Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

UK remastered reissue combines the British folk act's 1968 & 1970 albums. Updated packaging includes extensive sleeve notes & a slipcase. BGO Records. 2004.


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CD Details

All Artists: Michael Chapman
Title: Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bgo
Original Release Date: 1/1/2004
Re-Release Date: 9/27/2004
Album Type: Import, Original recording remastered
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: British & Celtic Folk, Europe, British Isles, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 5017261205544


Album Description
UK remastered reissue combines the British folk act's 1968 & 1970 albums. Updated packaging includes extensive sleeve notes & a slipcase. BGO Records. 2004.

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CD Reviews

Another long-lost guitar great
Elliot Knapp | Seattle, Washington United States | 10/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Considering how much I listen to music of this genre and time period, it's unbelievable how long it took me to hear about Michael Chapman, and I could have easily not researched his music when I read his name in passing on the web. I'm so glad I did, because now I've got these two great albums on one disc, and another songwriter to add to my favorites. Michael Chapman combines all the elements that I look for in singer-songwriters: non-ordinary songwriting, a unique voice, and instrumental prowess, all three of which he demonstrates in spades on these, his first two albums.

Rainmaker, his first album, is by all accounts a stunning debut. It opens with the thunderous "It Didn't Work Out," which rocks the hardest on the whole album with some shimmering organ, wah guitar, multi-tracked vocals and pounding drums. Chapman's voice is idiosyncratic in all the right ways--it's a rough, emotive Northern English drawl that is still capable of delicacy (reminds me a little of a rougher Tom Rush combined with a Bill Fay who can actually sing in tune). The lyrics are incisive and cutting; this isn't sunshiny pop folk, it's real music. The title track puts Chapman's guitar technique on display as he serves up some crunchy open-tuned riffs and some cutting fingerstyle. I'm a sucker for acoustic guitar instrumentals, so it's a pleasure to hear Chapman bust out some more licks on the raga-influenced "Thank You P.K. 1944," the minor key intro to "No One Left To Care" and the progressively bluesy "Sunday Morning." I'd say his guitar technique is somewhere between the Indian influences of Davy Graham and the fluid, nimble fingerstyle of Bert Jansch--sort of like Roy Harper, but a bit less other-worldly and experimental. Through the rest of the album, Chapman reveals himself as an already-mature songwriter who definitely has something to say, even if that something is a bit harrowing. Some of my other favorites are the droning mystery of "Not So Much A Garden..." with its full guitar sound and harmonic playing, and the wistful but regretful "One Time Thing." The album closes on the mellow, valedictory "Goodbye to Monday Night," which is a satisfying and cathartic end to an emotionally-affecting album.

Fully Qualified Survivor is even better than Rainmaker, whose only real flaw could be a little roughness around the edges, which is pretty much the rule for late-60's British folk debuts. The second album betrays more of attention to complete construction, as evidenced by the creepy, ethereal instrumental improvisational opening to the epic "Aviator." Chapman's narrator sings of isolation, the oppressive world, and madness (which just might be sanity...) backed by exquisitely sensitive folk rock and strings. "Naked Ladies and Electric Ragtime" gives relief with some jazzy guitar, which encapsulates the album's push and pull between dark, weighty themes and moments of beauty and lightness. "Stranger In the Room" is a provocative rocker that features Mick Ronson on lead guitar. "Postcards from Scarborough" was Michael Chapman's biggest hit and most enduring composition; it's another backward-looking, heart-breakingly destitute ballad that is stark in its resoluteness. "Soulful Lady" rocks incredibly hard--definitely a highlight for those who like folk rock that cuts loose. "Rabbit Hills" features a breathtaking marriage of strings, guitar, and soaring harmony on the refrain. "Kodak Ghosts" shows a return of Chapman's bitter, acidic face (one of my favorites)--"at last I got my loneliness together." The album grooves to an end on the bongo-laced, Eastern-tinged "Trinkets and Rings," another well-chosen closer.

If you're a fan of folk-rock singer/songwriters who favor dark material (a la Richard Thompson and the other artists I mentioned here), you owe it to yourself and to Michael Chapman's criminally unknown music to check this twofer out--and it's a good value! Next up, I'm checking out his next two albums on one disc--Window/Wrecked Again."
Rainmaker/Fully Qualified Survivor
Stuart Jefferson | San Diego,Ca | 06/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Two discs. Approximately 48&46 min. each. Remastered sound. How a talent like Michael Chapman is not more well-known will forever be a mystery. An ace guitarist and good vocalist,these two albums are proof that,once again,the record company did not make the public more aware of this great talent. His back-up band on Rainmaker included players like Danny Thompson,Clem Clempson and the rhythm section from The Aynsley Dunbar group. A fine guitartist in his own right,there is ample evidence all over this disc. The track Rainmaker shows off his skills on the fretboard. On other tracks the rhythm section is used to good effect-never getting in the way. Chapman's voice is a bit of a cross between Dylan and the great David Ackles. His songs tell stories of past failures and glories. His voice,an instrument in itself,is weary-sounding-as if he'd seen it all and now wants to tell the world. Fully Qualified Survivor is a step forward in Chapman's evolution as songwriter and instrumentalist. Recorded about a year after Rainmaker,this has always been his most popular album. Using a core group of musicians (some from the first album) the sound is tighter and a bit smoother. His songs continue in the same vein as the previous album. His voice,if anything,is even more world-weary than before. Both of these albums won't hit you over the head on first listen. These need to be savoired over and over again during the "quiet times" that ,hopefully,we all still have. Your patience will be rewarded."