IsraBox - Music is Life! After the critical acclaim Michael Chapman received for Rainmaker in , he followed up quickly in early with Fully Qualified Survivor, a record more adventurous and haunting than its predecessor, with added production flourishes and equally strong songs. Fully Qualified Survivor is the album that established Chapman as a folk troubadour. The original version was recorded on Fully Qualified Survivor in with a lovely Paul Buckmaster string arrangement.
That version has surfaced on various collections down the years. A gentler version appears on Still Making Rain released in The song has a couple of private jokes in it.
A Three Thousand. Magnetic Gliding. Still Making Rain Remixed. The BBC Sessions Various Artists. Harvest Festival. Michael Chapman Fully Qualified Survivor. Light in the Attic Records. Michael Chapman Best of See For Miles Records. A Three Thousand Magnetic Gliding. Strange Fruit. Various Artists Harvest Festival.
The album sounds fresh as anything recorded today, yet still of its time, sparkling with punchy drum fills and orchestral arrangements. The lyrics on the album evoke a feeling of hopelessness, and there is a kind of sad tone but all together I believe it can be an uplifting album. This may be thanks to sharing much of the same personnel responsible for early albums by Elton John and David Bowie.
Michael Chapman Fully Qualified Survivor. Most music fans carry around a mental short list of musicians who, in their minds, are woefully underappreciated not only by the general public but by other music fans. No matter what the genre--folk, metal, hip-hop, or whatever the latest permutation of electronic dance music is called--we can all think of a performer who in our estimation deserves wider name recognition and popularity. But today I'd like to single out one particular gentleman from my mental list and tell you why you should care about him.
Born and raised in Hunslet, a heavily industrial inner-city section of Leeds in the north of England, Michael Chapman started his professional life as an art teacher.
He moonlighted as a guitarist, though, and it was a great time to be one in England, as people like Davy Graham and Bert Jansch were redefining the sound of acoustic folk music with their intricate fingerstyle playing.
Chapman began to play the folk circuits in Cornwall and London in the late 60s. Perhaps it was his early environs, but Chapman seemed to have a natural facility for the blues, and his early sets leaned heavily on tunes like "See See Rider" and "Key to the Highway.
It wasn't long before Chapman was writing his own songs, though, and what songs they were. His songs tended to focus on the aftermath of relationships gone sour, carefully sifting through regrets and recriminations to get to the truth behind the ways people construct and deconstruct their lives together. One of these songs, the bar-setting "It Didn't Work Out," led off his first album, Rainmaker , released by Harvest in Rainmaker created the template for the rest of the albums that Chapman recorded for Harvest: mournful, lyrically acute songs mixed in with accomplished guitar instrumentals.
The guitar instrumentals weren't filler, either; by this time, Chapman's fluid fingerstyle playing was just as accomplished as the playing of some of his better-known peers. It's quintessential Chapman, and in this stripped-down version from his guest appearance on Hatch's show in , you can hear how his skillful guitar playing propels the song's narrative about a guy sitting around after a failed relationship with only his dog for company the dog is a nice Chapmanesque touch. The Kodak ghosts of the title are never mentioned, but you can imagine the old photos strewn on the guy's kitchen table, representations of a dead affair that continues to haunt his mind.
Chapman recorded four albums for Harvest, each one a gem and each one distinct from the other in its musical choices. In the mids, he signed to Decca Records and moved in a rockier direction. Millstone Grit , the first of his Decca albums, signaled in its very title the way Chapman would go for much of the rest of the decade: tougher, harder, and louder. His electric period failed to set the world alight, however, and as the 80s and 90s went on, Chapman returned to a more folk and blues-based sound.
Michael Chapman, according to his bio, rose out of the Cornish folk circuit, which must have been a strange fit. His music surely has a melancholy feel that runs through plenty of traditional Cornish folk songs, but his biting edge and complex compositions must have surely made him an outlier.
In fact, Chapman has been an outlier for much of his career, never quite garnering the praise he so deserved. After that huge, excellent, opening, Chapman continues to develop his own deep, vibrant sound. The solitary feel Chapman establishes is nothing self-pitying or fey. The lyrics are fully realized here, as well written as they are well delivered, but Fully Qualified Survivor is excellent because it is just as dynamic musically.
Chapman enlisted some Grade-A players for the record, including guitarist Mick Ronson. Chapman leaves plenty of room to show off his own chops, of course, and mixes up the mood and tempo of the record with a series of solo acoustic interludes.
Fully Qualified Survivor is, well, just what its title claims. This is an album more than worthy of being unearthed and of being appreciated anew. It also avoids the over-sentimental schmaltz in which some of his peers indulged another occasional drawback to that crowd.
It does all those things at once, and it does them better than most artists could hope to do any one of them. So is Fully Qualified Survivor a lost classic? To both questions: A resounding hell yes. Fully Qualified Survivor Q: AprilPostcards of Scarborough (Ragtime Intro) Composer: Michael Chapman From the Album "Fully Qualified Survivor" () TablEdited by Michael Chapman fan Page 1 / 2 E B G D A E 0 H 2 3 3 0 0 3 2 1 1 5 0 0 2 3 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 H 1 Po 0 2 2 1 3 2 0 H 1 Po 0 2 2 0 H 2 1 0 1 2 0 9 3 2 0 0 2 Sl 3 1. 3 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 R 0 0 2 2 0 3 2. 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 2 0.