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Michael Chapman: Deal Gone Down

Troubadour’s banjo-heavy 1974 LP reissued with bonus cuts.

The Yorkshire singer and guitarist Michael Chapman had already recorded five albums by the time he got to Deal Gone Down in 1974. The then 33-year-old folkie/bluesman had honed his skills to gratifying levels by that point, as is evident on this album, which still sounds fresh all these years later.

It’s emotional stuff, too. ’Please tell me why you ever went away?’ he sings on Stranger Passing By, although it’s not all heartstring-twanging stuff – he’s also on merry form on the more upbeat tunes on this extras-boosted reissue. Chapman fans will no doubt point to The Rock’N’Roll Jigley and the gritty Goodbye Sunny Sky as the LP’s highlights. Of the bonus tracks, Dumplings may be a little bit too relentlessly jaunty for some tastes, but the five demos display Chapman’s super-deft plucking in evolution and Untitled Rag is a two-minute workout of economical blues mastery.