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'Man' : Francis Dunnery's CD

Strongly featuring Procol's Matt Pegg

Summer 2001 sees a tour featuring the excellent song-writer / guitarist Francis Dunnery, with Matt Pegg on bass and very occasional backing vocal. The two musicians take the stage in a spirit of enormous bonhomie, and Dunnery's songs - spiritual, melodic, fresh, and touching - are interspersed with bouts of laddish mock rivalry (who can play the fastest licks ... it's a close-run thing and the pace is hair-raising, though the material itself is very much song-driven, and not dependent on technique).

In an interview elsewhere at BtP Matt remarks, 'My favourite bands aren't bands with great bass players and great drummers. I'd much rather listen to the Beatles or Joni Mitchell, James Taylor or the Doors'. This Dunnery / Pegg duo, however, does have a great bass-man as well as a passionate yearning vocalist singing his own, genuinely-interesting lyrics, all promoting the album Man (see below). Many of the songs look back nostalgically, others deal with insights gained on reaching mature adulthood: the heart is catered for, as well as the head and feet. If you want to hear the Dunnery / Pegg combo play in your own town, click this link.

The duo versions of this material work extremely well; Cropredy saw many of the same songs delivered by an augmented band, The Grass Virgins, with fine singer Dorie Jackson, and keyboards played by Dave McCracken (and, unusually, no real drums ... though Dunnery's rhythm guitar and Pegg's rock-solid bass, interspersed with awesome melodic running passages, make even programmed drums redundant). Dunnery is an unpredictable, charismatic performer who is received with cultish fervour by fans who have grown up with him on his It Bites repertoire. You can visit his website here.

On the album Man the songs receive an altogether more lavish treatment with 'cellos, discreet synths, lush backing vocals and a delicious sense of warm atmosphere throughout. Highlight for bass fans could well be track 9, The Ava Song: but all of it makes excellent listening and ... though it is far from a Procol sound ... it is harmonically interesting in a way that Procol fans will enjoy. A live 2001 album featuring Francis and Matt is also available: see here.

1 I'm In Love

2 Flower Girl

3 Me And Franciene

4 Yonder Mountain

5 Hold Out Your Heart

6 Blinded By The Memory

7 The Garden Of Mystic Lovers

8 The Wounding And Healing Of Men

9 The Ava Song

10 The Only Thing You Get To Keep

11 Hometown

12 Close My Door

Matt Pegg's page at BtP

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home