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Patricia Hammond - Our Lovely Day (Album Review)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 Written by Jonny Rimmer
Patricia Hammond - Our Lovely Day (Album Review)

If you're under the age of 30... let's say 70, it is more than likely that an album of “nice”, occasionally jazz-inflected songs with titles like 'A Nice Cup of Tea' and 'We'll Gather Lilacs' will probably not be up your street. I get that. If you already have the impression that an album called Our Lovely Day will serve better as a birthday present for your Granny, I get that too. Arctic Monkeys this aint.

ImageStill, if you can put aside you cynicism and embrace a time when Jack Johnson wasn't the definition of easy listening, this album has unmistakable appeal. It's perhaps lamentable that the golden age for wartime tunes like 'That Lovely Weekend' was, well, during the war. There is still a market for these tunes though and renowned mezzo-soprano Patricia Hammond might have been the ideal candidate to spruce up these tunes and give them a youthful edge.

Unfortunately, Hammond seems content to simply dig them up rather than give them a spectacular re-jig. For someone of my age to give Our Lovely Day such a judgement would be unfair though; God knows I cannot fully appreciate songs written in 1919, like 'When Smilin' Through' without a bit of context. Some of these songs were clearly written at a time when people didn't want melancholia in their music – sentiment maybe.

Our Lovely Day is a bit cringe inducing if you over-analyse the lyrics (see 'The Honeysuckle and the Bee') and many of the tracks under two minutes will just fly by, but there's a startling amount of charm to be found throughout the disc. The whole record is very evocative of times gone by, with honky-tonk piano and jazzy clarinet both featuring throughout. There's songs from 30s musicals, the Victorian era and plenty of wartime classics revived, and on authentic instrumentation. So, yes, perhaps your old nan won't have the facility to read this review herself, but by jove, you can make sure she's thrown back to a time when she was the one shaking her hips.


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