Jim Moray last night

Last night’s Jim Moray gig at The Stables in Milton Keynes was occasionally brilliant, but only intermittently engaging, and probably the weakest of the six Moray shows I’ve seen.

Moray and his regular collaborators performed beautifully, as usual. The 18-song two-hour setlist was beyond reproach, drawing from Moray’s three albums and beyond. Barbara Allen and the closer, Valentine, were standouts.

And yet…

The trio performed manfully all night but were clearly troubled by sound problems. Accordionist Nick even had a public discussion (on mic) with the soundboard op late in the second half.

The addition of a full set of rock drums was a problem. I’ve no ideological objection to drums or rock – I really enjoyed the full-on Jim as Rock God set at Madame JoJo’s in London, which launched the second album – but this line-up simply didn’t work.

The drums, especially the somewhat lumpen bass, detracted from the finely sculpted, richly melodic instrumentals – these are three gifted young musos. It drowned out Moray’s fine vocals, too. The mix was clearly wrong.

And Moray must despair at ever reaching the audience he so richly deserves. Last night attracted about 100 people, even after all the PR from the recent awards for his magnificent new album, Low Culture.

Regardless. Jim Moray is a major young talent. His updating of English folk is bringing its delights to a wider audience (fr’instance me, babe). Music For Grown-Ups will be following him faithfully.

If you’re yet to taste the delights of the Jim Moray catalogue, here’s the detail:

www.jimmoray.co.uk

Gerry Smith

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