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Gordon Giltrap: Time To Reflect

Four-album set reflecting the guitarist/composer’s diversity and depth.

On the surface, these are four disparate albums connected only through the fact that they were recorded by Gordon Giltrap.

However, this is not a bunch of records that have simply been thrown together – along with the guitarist’s own informative liner notes, they give a remarkable insight into the variations and moods Giltrap can so accurately reflect through his talents. In doing so, it makes you appreciate that he has been, and continues to be, one of the UK’s finest folk-rock representatives. The first CD, 2004’s Drifter, features the chiming Deco Echo, a tribute to Django Reinhardt, and James Jig, written to mark the 80th birthday of Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall Amplification. In both, you can hear the way Giltrap can skilfully move through any style and make it sound authentically his own. The second CD features the 2002 album Under The Blue Sky, which has an interesting rebooting of the nursery rhyme Sing A Song Of Sixpence, plus The Picnic (with some subtle flute touches) and the celtic Crossing The Border. The 1987 album Elegy takes up the third disc. A Christmas Carol has the eerily exotic flavour of that Dickensian tale, and the beautiful, Pre‑Raphaelite title track is based on a poem called Dear Love, written by Giltrap’s mother-in-law. Finally, Music For The Small Screen contains the artist’s excursions into TV soundtracks. The all-star reworking of (Holiday theme) Heartsong features Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Midge Ure and Steve Howe and, as you can imagine, this rightly grabs the attention. But the renaissance sounds of The Lord’s Seat and Sunburst, which sounds like a natural successor to Heartsong, are equally worth attention. Some of these tracks are among the best of his near half-century career, but Time To Reflect only scratches the surface. It serves as an inspired collection in itself, and also as a tantalising survey of the sheer range and depth of Giltrap’s artistry.