Ben Sands,
Take My Love With You
(Spring, 2010)

Ben Sands is back and back on great form as usual. This lovely new CD of a dozen tracks carries his usual mixture of philosophy, fun, friendship and fundamentally songs of ordinary life.

The title track was written for his daughter on her wedding day and it epitomises the man and his music. Sands is the sort of "everyman" of song. He writes those songs about everyday things we all experience and when we do experience them we wish we could write a song like his to express our feelings.

"Take My Love With You" could be the generic father's song at any wedding, and no doubt if it gets enough airplay it may be one of those songs that priests end up banning as not religious enough at formal services.

Almost every track on here leaves a similar feeling of wanting to be able to sing the song to someone at crucial times in life.

"Ronan Won't Be Phonin' Any More" is a title that has us expecting one of his classic comic offerings, but once more he confounds our expectations. This is a wonderful if rather sad song recalling the loss of a friend of long standing and his sad life and losses. Sands' capacity to recall the minutiae of life is well served here as he sings of that old friend ringing just as you settle down to eat or listen to a new CD and our frustration at the interruption, but the friendship overcomes any inconvenience. Then when he can no longer call we can be content we always chatted.

He always seems to drop in a pleasant musical interlude with an instrumental that ends up haunting your "hum along" memory for days. On this album that track is "Twilight in Tangen." Unusually, he gives us one song not from his own pen, but what a haunting song it is. Hugh Priestwood wrote it and I can only recall ever hearing it once before on a radio program. It is the marvelous tale of lost love that is conveyed even by the title, "Ghost in the House."

The amusing track on offer here is a little saga of meeting a girl by accident in a cafe and the whole tale unfolds with a ring of sad truth in just under four minutes on "Coffee & Cheesecake." The philosophical song on the album has to be "There's No Time Like the Present."

Listening to the last track on the CD reminded me of that poetic term so many poor English Literature professors tried to get into our heads: onomatopoeia. "Rainbow Days & Firework Nights" might not use exact examples but it's what kept coming to mind.

With these plus the other tracks, a lovely insert booklet of lyrics and a beautifully designed and printed cover, this is a CD to dig out and to treasure.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

2 October 2010

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