Recording information: Fairview Studios, Hull; Sawmills Studios, Cornwall; Tapestry Studios, London.
Photographer: Trevor Rogers.
Michael Chapman's The Man Who Hated Mornings might be seen as comparable to Eric Clapton's Slowhand release of the same year, and the presence of guitarist Mick Ronson (reunited with Chapman after six years spent elsewhere) does ensure that the frets get a fair workout as the album goes on. The comparison, however, has more in common with the mood of the record than any virtuoso concerns -- it is Chapman at his most laid-back, and only occasionally stirring himself into first gear. A cover of Dylan's "Ballad in Plain D" is a triumphant highlight, seguing into Chapmans own "Steel Bonnets" instrumental to emerge a shoo-in for any "best-of" Chapman anthology. Elsewhere, there's much to be said for the wryly salacious "Why Do You Bob Your Hair, Girls," and a title track that completely eschews Chapman's folk-rock reputation for a taste of nightclub jazz. "Dogs Got More Sense," meanwhile, is a joyous slice of pop melody that could be compared to Phillip Goodhand-Tait's "Jewel," but the song that most sums up this album is a delightfully disdainful take on Danny O'Keefe's "I'm Sober Now." That may or may not be true, but Chapman has a wonderful time keeping listeners guessing. ~ Dave Thompson
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