England - Full Moon 111 - 10/17/05
The Dangerous Hours
In the seventies John Howard issued his debut album but found only limited exposure for it. Two more albums
he recorded, but they remained unreleased until recently. After thirty years his time has finally come with
reissues and an album of new material. He collaborates with poet Robert Cochrane. The result is oddly English
and very sweet.
To these ears "Such a Drag" sounds like a less sentimental, still valid Elton John. "Save the Days" is beautifully hopeful and Howard's voice feels familiar and warm. Throughout the album the songs are skillfully if somewhat barely arranged. Some of the songs would sound better with a full orchestra. I suspect it was more a budget issue than a real choice and most of the songs are charmingly realized anyway.
"What a Carry On" revisits the England of the Carry On films and sounds utterly lovely. We end and
come full circle with "Dear Glitterheart" a song that laments the glam era while cramming in as many references to it as is humanly possible. Fans of the Thin White Duke should sigh approvingly. It's a ravishing song. But this record is no mere artifact of a bygone era, it's beautiful and alive today.
Copyright © 2005 Anna Maria Stjärnell