Thursday 22 December 2011


Engine Company


At long last James’s material is released on CD, having previously only been available for download.

Here we have his two EP’s “Available Light” and “Close at Hand” along with some bonus tracks.

Produced by Paul McCartney and David Kahne, and recorded at Hog Mill Studios, Sussex, Abbey Road, London and SeeSquared Studios, New York, we have a great collection of original material along with two cover versions.

The first disc of the double CD features the original “Available Light” EP plus the excellent bonus tracks “New York Times”, a real rocker, “I Love You Dad” a very touching song for dad Paul, and “Moonstar”.

“Angel” opens the CD and there are some very personal lyrics in here “I have felt some hard times in my life, but I don’t want to feel it anymore”, shows that this song is very personal to James. This track is the UK single. The song is based around when James will meet his true love. Indeed the whole “Available Light” collection is very catchy even from first hearing. Even the one cover version here is a wonderful updated version of “Old Man”, the Neil Young song from his classic 1971 album “Harvest”. It makes me think that this is maybe how Neil would record it today.

The second disc features the more recently recorded “Close at Hand” EP. The very beautiful “I Only Want to be Alone” opens the CD and again sounds a very personal song to James. Indeed on first hearing, you might think you are listening to Julian Lennon here. “Jesus is my Friend” shows an individual bearing his soul at times, and a man who clearly has a lot of love inside him to give.

“Close at Hand” for me is the better disc of the two, but “Available Light” is also a good CD.

The musicianship and vocals on “Close at Hand”, shows how James has developed as a performer and songwriter.

The cover version on this CD is the excellent Carl Perkins track “Your True Love”, a song performed on the Carl Perkins 1985 TV special by George Harrison and Dave Edmunds no less.

The inner sleeve has the lyrics for the songs and photography by Mary McCartney.

James plays guitar, bass and piano on this album and is joined by Steve Bayley, Gil Goldstein, David Kahn, Charlie Turner, Shawn Pelton, and Steven Isserlist, to make this a very enjoyable CD debut for James, which has been recorded over the past two years.

by Ernie Sutton

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