Richard Palmer-James - Takeaway album review

King Crimson lyricist’s soft-rock debut

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With a lifetime spent in the music industry largely in his adopted Germany, the real surprise about the first solo album by the man who provided the lyrics for King Crimson and before that, as a guitarist and vocalist on Supertramp’s 1970 debut, is what took him so long?

Older and wiser, and with an agreeably weathered voice, Richard Palmer-James describes encounters, characters and situations within a variety of soft rock, country and blues settings. His seasoned eye offers an outsider view, narrating the life and times of bad girls, good girls, escaping expectations, duplicitous chancers, being sold short and bittersweet bar room encounters, the added benefit of it all being extremely well-told. With an understated but crisp production making good use of swelling accordion, fluid bluesy licks and the occasional spiky embellishments via mandolin, his observations are often pithy and well-drawn with a pinch of wry humour. Recently Palmer-James provided the lyrics to ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross’ metallic Sign Of The Crow. In contrast, Takeaway is a relaxed, easy-going affair. If Mellotronic flights of fancy are more your favoured fare, you’d best look elsewhere.