‘The Frappin’ and Ramblin’ Pete Morton’ - acerbic humour, irony, indignation and observation(February 06, 2014)
Pete Morton writes sharp, acid-etched songs that overflow with charisma and implication. He wields heavy doses of acerbic humour, sizeable slices of irony, caustic political indignation and critical social observation. Sometimes sung, sometimes folk-rap style, these are idiosyncratic songs that could only spring from these islands and only from Pete Morton. His new album ‘The Frappin’ and Ramblin’ Pete Morton’ makes no concessions to anything, tells it how he sees it and touches parts other songs may never reach.
The opening essential rural truths of ‘The Farmer’s Boy’ and the frenetic energy of its dexterous spoken lyric make a powerful point, as does the gentle recounting of finding a new country in ‘Heart of the Land’. There’s sweeping historical narratives: ‘Rambling Through Old England’ that slides through time pointing an accusative finger at centuries of injustice and oppression, and the spoken-song ‘Ghost Of A Sailor’ with its mournful understanding and pertinent message.
For those unfamiliar with folk-rap, take in ‘The Manchester Rambler’s Frap’ an oblique homage to Ewan MacColl with classic Morton lyrics putting an ironic edge on so-called modern life, or the downright savage observations of ‘A Begging I Will Go Frap’ – “… we should all read is ‘Love. For Beginners’.” Rather than promulgating pointless platitudes as social sop, our politicians could do worse than make Morton’s lyrics part of the school curriculum.
I can’t help but identify with these songs – I’ve felt the resolve of ‘The Journeyman’ (although at Victoria Station rather than Waterloo) and the sarcastic anger of‘Coporatocracy’ – long may this man’s voice be heard.
Building on the buskers heritage of ‘man-with-guitar’ there’s Pete Morton's memorable vocals with guitar and harmonica. This album also benefits from the talents of Maggie Boyle (vocals, flute) Chris Parkinson (melodeons, accordion, vocals) Jon Brindley (fiddle, guitar) James Budden (bass, vocals) and Linda Adams (chorus vocals).
Deflating the privileged and elite that repress, divide and control; marking out political and financial animals filled with mendacity and greed; revealing simplicities somehow lost to commerce and progress - this album stands proud. Find it here: www.petemorton.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll