Alun Parry – Freedom Rider

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Damian Liptrot | Stars: 3/5

From street busker to the beating heart of a musical community, Alun Parry’s output has reached the seven album mark and his commitment, his love of music and the quality of his writing and playing remain undiminished. As a protest singer with a particular love of Woody Guthrie, Freedom Rider encompasses Alun’s concerns, that can be focussed on individual issues, such as the death of a psychiatric patient, to wider issues of the overlooked history of child labour and the movement for civil rights in the song that gives us the album title. While he is unlikely to make the playlist of any Tory Battlebus anytime soon, there is a range to his songwriting that moves outside the realm of anger and issues and into the world of interpersonal relationships. Often tinged with sadness and regret, there is a country element to several of these songs that belie his Liverpool origins – until you notice the unmistakable Scouse twang that adds further character to his delivery. The music of the Mersey does however flow through his songwriting bloodstream. There are nods to the Sixties sound, the folk heritage of the Liverpool Spinners and even the chiming pop of the likes of the Lightning Seeds. Whilst we cannot escape the shadow of Lennon, whereas one thinks of a “Working Class Hero” as something to be, Alun celebrates a working class hero that was, union leader Jack Jones gets his own upbeat memorial. A true comrade of the city, putting effort into encouraging others, both musically and politically, organising events to share ideas and music, the world needs more Alun Parrys, though the one we already have will do for a start.