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Gerry Rafferty - Life Goes On (Hypertension)
Many of us who have followed Rafferty's career with any modicum of interest would be happy, I would imagine, to see his smiling face once again, as included in the booklet that accompanies this collection. Photographed with Enzina Fushini before Mont-Saint-Michel in France, the singer-songwriter appears decidedly chipper with obligatory trademark tinted-specs, after a decade of speculation regarding his personal life. Stories of trashing hotel rooms, drunken benders, not to mention going missing for a while, have all been pretty much tabloid fodder and consequently has kept tongues wagging, but it's always nice to see a musician return to form and get his act together.
LIFE GOES ON is a compilation of sorts with a few new things added. The six new songs include a reading of the Christian chant Kyrie Elieson, which reminds me of an earlier version by the Electric Prunes (don't ya just love Sixties band names?) from the Easy Rider soundtrack; a couple of timely Christmas Carols including Adeste Fidelis, sung in its original Latin, later translated into English as O Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night, probably the prettiest Christmas song of the lot. With plenty of church bells included within, together with a sleeve design depicting an assortment of saintly figures, one wonders whether this is intended as a seasonal album or is it just that Mr Rafferty turned to God? The inclusion of another new recording, this time a pretty faithful cover of The Beatles' Because could also quite easily fit in with the seasonal theme. With harpsichord accompaniment, it just has that seasonal feel.
Several of the tracks are re-mastered cuts from Rafferty's three previous albums including Love and Affection, Life Goes On and Time's Caught Up On You from ON A WING AND A PRAYER (1992), The Waters of Forgetfulness from OVER MY HEAD (1994) and Every Time I Wake Up, The Land of the Chosen Few and the title track from ANOTHER WORLD (2000). The other songs included are lifted direct from those albums. I still love The Land of the Chosen Few despite it sounding like Rafferty has been on the Jeff Lynne pills.
I can't be certain when these 'new' songs were actually recorded, but if they are indeed recently recorded songs, then I can report that Rafferty's voice hasn't deteriorated with age and I should imagine he could certainly pull of a decent version of Baker Street with no problem, if only he could find Raphael Ravenscroft to back him up with that iconic sax work. The newly recorded traditional song The Maid of Culmore (also known as Maid From Coolmore), is probably this album's finest moment, with Rafferty returning to form as a distinctively unique singer.
With a nod to those who have provided 'emotional support' over the years, Rafferty mentions artist John Byrne who created some of his wonderful album sleeves as well as for The Humblebums and Steelers Wheel, not to mention The Beatles. Rafferty also mentions Billy Connolly and Rab Noakes and together with Byrne, the songwriter expresses his gratitude. 'These are my friends, the dear, once of a day.'