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Thank You M.C. 1969: Michael Chapman’s Folk-Rock Classic “Rainmaker” Arrives From Light in the Attic

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When the distinct green Harvest Records logo is remembered today, it’s often for Pink Floyd or early Electric Light Orchestra.  But the label, created to stake a claim in the burgeoning rock market, boasted a deep, diverse roster, all the better to compete with other “alternative” labels like Decca’s Deram or Philips’ Vertigo.  One of the artists who found early success on Harvest was Michael Chapman, a former art and photography instructor.  Chapman’s greatest achievement was arguably 1970’s Fully Qualified Survivor, on which the troubadour was backed by Mick Ronson on guitars and Elton John’s arranger du jour, Paul Buckmaster, supplying the string orchestrations.  But Chapman was so fully qualified because Survivor was actually the third in a rich series of albums that both defined and transcended the British folk-rock ethos of the period.

Light in the Attic delivered Fully Qualified Survivor last year, and has now turned its attention to remastering and expanding Rainmaker, Chapman’s 1969 debut for Harvest.  (1971’s Window would fall in between those albums.)  Like that more famous sibling, Rainmaker blends psychedelic, folk and rock influences into a potent brew that’s uniquely Chapman and again features a stellar line-up of supporting artists.  The album was overseen by another Elton John collaborator, Gus Dudgeon, the producer behind John’s remarkable series of seventies classics as well as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” single.  Dudgeon would go on to produce Survivor for Chapman.  The singer, songwriter and guitarist was joined by drummer Aynsley Dunbar, perhaps best known for his association with Frank Zappa, and a host of other musicians including Clem Clempson (Humble Pie), Alex Dmochowski (Retaliation), Norman Haines (Locomotive), Danny Thompson (Pentangle) and Rick Kemp (Steeleye Span).

Hit the jump for more on Rainmaker, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 27, 2012 at 13:44