Pete Morton – A Golden Thread

Album Review | Further Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

When I first saw Pete Morton back in the late 1980s, I was struck with the determination in which this young Leicester-born singer songwriter delivered his bold songs, “The Sloth and the Greed”, “The Last God of England” and “A Babe of the World” amongst them.  With a workingman-like attitude and rolled up sleeves, the former Punk turned folk troubadour forced me to sit up and listen and thirty-odd years later, I’m still listening and fortunately still sitting up.  A Golden Thread is an album of recently composed anthems, traditional re-workings and an updated title song, originally from the pen of another noted folk troubadour, the late Pete Seeger.  Nothing here is preachy, pointy-fingered or overtly angry, but rather hymn-like, meditative and humble, yet still gets the point across.

If the traditional “Barbry Allen” comes steaming along like a runaway train, utilising the same broad strides as Fairport’s “Matty Groves”, then the big issues are handled with care and compassion.  “The Grenfell Carol”, is an optimistic seasonal ode to those who lost their lives in one of our most catastrophic peacetime events, a touching letter to those who could have prevented such a tragedy if only to ensure this sort of thing never happens again.  “Yemeni Moon” carries a similar message to the similarly uncaring warmongers in our midst, complete with an urging to listen once again to an early Dylan classic, whose message still matters.  Jude Rees joins Pete on “Emily Dickinson Revisited (Good Day, Mr Nobody!)”, providing the album with one of its most tender moments.  On a lighter note, for those of us who have traversed the capitol’s network of tunnels and tracks, for either work or pleasure, “Metropolitan Safari” name checks some of London’s notable landmarks in a song that even Ray Davies might very well tip his cap to.  Like all good folk club finales, Pete leaves us with a rousing reading of the traditional “The Farmers Boy”, the irresistible chorus just crying out for an audience to join in.

Choice Track: Metropolitan Safari (NSV 500)