Friday, May 24, 2024

Medicine Head Return With Heartwork

Medicine Head, John Fiddler and Peter Hope-Evans can trace its lineage back to 1968 when they were signed to John Peel’s Dandelion label. Peel was a major fan of the band and their debut single, ‘His Guiding Hand‘, was regarded as a classic by the DJ, to the extent a copy of it was found in Peel’s legendary record box following his sad demise.

The band struggled to make their name in the early seventies, despite having Peel in their corner and being active on the university gig scene. At a time when the stretching of musical boundaries and experimentation was vogue, Medicine Head somehow fell between the cracks and, after a couple of minor hit singles, plus one which surprisingly reached #3, and the release of three albums on Dandelionn they eventually split in 1977. Angel Air released their supposedly ‘lost’ album, Don’t Stop The Dance, in 2005 which prompted Fiddler to reactivate Medicine Head, and the band now consists of Fiddler plus various other musos helping out.

Heartwork is the follow-up to 2021’s Warrior Of Love, their first album for a decade, and is a set of ten pieces, fluctuating between skirting the edges of blues and full-on Americana and country, and all played in an extremely mellow, laidback frame of mind, with only on ‘Riding In My Car’ does Fiddler let rip on his guitar.

All of the songs performed on the record are relatively short, with the mood and tempo rarely varying. ‘Get Your Hands In The Air’ has a nice bluesy guitar opening and a swampy blues vibe, which includes harmonica. Whereas ‘Love Is Not A Dream’ is very much Americana and Country, right down to the slide guitar. The same goes for ‘Gotta Hold On’ and ‘All About The Love’, and the cloyingly sentimental ‘Blue Eyes’, whereas ‘Alibi’, with its sweet female backing, and ‘Everyone has the Blues (Sometimes)’ are songs which could easily fit into Radio2 ’s daytime scheduling.

So, while this is all very nice and well-played, there’s a pleasant unthreatening vibe running through the music, and it’s all very easy to listen to but therein lies the problem as I’m not quite sure who the target audience might be, so God bless John Fiddler for still wanting to be making albums at 76, but I think he needs to be more definite where he’s headed.

Heartwork is available now via Talking Elephant

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

17 + eleven =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RAMzine is proud to support The Mike James Rock Show!

Latest Articles

Medicine Head, John Fiddler and Peter Hope-Evans can trace its lineage back to 1968 when they were signed to John Peel’s Dandelion label. Peel was a major fan of the band and their debut single, 'His Guiding Hand', was regarded as a classic by...Medicine Head Return With Heartwork