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Dodson and Fogg - Stopping to Admire the Flowers

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 26 / 11 / 2018

Dodson and Fogg - Stopping to Admire the Flowers
Label: Wisdom Twin Records
Format: CD


Fourth album this year from Chris Wade’s Dodson and Fogg musical project which once more is his best yet

It’s doubtful if Chris Wade (aka Dodson & Fogg) ever has the time to stop and admire the flowers. This latest album of eleven original songs is his fourth album so far in 2018. Wade has only released three other albums this year as he’s obviously been busy with his other projects; films, books and his art. Where he finds the time is still a mystery… Once again Wade has made every sound on ‘Stopping to Admire the Flowers’ and produced the set. Once more he has provided the artwork (although the inner photo was taken by Lily Wade Napier, it seems that Wade has passed at least some of his many talents on to another generation) and once more he’s come up with an album that furthers his musical progress. There are times when this writer is expecting to wake up and be told that I’ve wasted all the words I’ve written about Chris Wade and his music as he doesn’t really exist. That it’s all been some kind of game because his music alone has yet to dip in quality and that’s only one of Wade’s projects. How can any human produce album after album of inspiring, original music always offering up something new while sticking to his original vision while also running these other projects (Wade’s films and his art are both striking)? It just doesn’t seem possible. Like his music which at times sounds beautifully otherworldly one sometimes wonders if Wade isn’t really of this planet as such is his work rate and talent. Last time we wrote a few words about a Dodson & Fogg album we wondered if Wade was hinting by placing an UFO in his artwork for that album; he’s getting his super-powers from somewhere. Every time Wade releases a new album there’s a slight doubt that he is going to repeat his previous work, that he will have lost that spark or take off in an entirely different direction which doesn’t really work. While there has been no great shift in sound since his debut way back in 2012, Wade always finds a way of keeping long-time fans interested. We’ve been guilty in the past, naming such artists as Marc Bolan and Neil Young when discussing Wade’s music. After around eighteen Dodson & Fogg albums it’s pointless trying to explain what influences Wade’s music for, while all those artists that have been mentioned through the years still drop in now and again, he really has developed a sound all of his own now. As soon as a Dodson and Fogg album plays it’s obvious who it is. Yet surprisingly each album stands just a little to the side from the previous one (usually just above actually as each album Wade releases tends to be his best to date). There’s always something no matter how small that shows that Wade isn’t standing still with his music or trading on past glories. It could be argued that ‘Stopping to Admire the Flowers’ is more of the same. But if it’s not broke then don’t fix it. There are songs here that rank with Wade’s best work. Not for the first time Wade has included two versions of a title track. The opening cut, ‘Stopping to Admire the Flowers (part 1)', is a brooding piano dominated piece although featuring Wade’s trademark dreamlike vocals, while the part 2 version which is the penultimate song on the album is an instrumental featuring Wade’s searing, distinctive electric guitar work. At almost twice the length of the opening cut it gives Wade the chance to experiment a little and his lengthy guitar excursions are always a joy to hear. It’s on tracks such as this where the question once again arises; when is this musician going to get the acclaim he so richly deserves as one of our most talented lead guitarists? While Wade is obviously a multi-instrumentalist of considerable talent, it’s still a mystery as to why his skill on the guitar hasn’t been more widely reported. That Wade follows part two of the title song (and closes the album) with ‘She Was Gone’, an acoustic-based ballad that is in total contrast to what has immediately gone before, just proving once more the scope of this artist. With more subdued and short electric guitar it’s a little gem of a song and one of the best that Wade has so far made available. That one musician is responsible for all the sounds on the track simply puts many of his contemporaries to shame. As with most of Wade’s work, it’s an atmospheric piece that takes the listener on a journey. The lead guitar work that closes the song (and album) simply leaves the listener wanting more of the same. That’s the start and end of the album then, and in-between we have classic Wade. There’s new ground covered on ‘I Wish This Would Never End’ while the song is blessed with a typical Wade hook it’s slightly blues-hued, a place that Wade has only touched upon briefly in the past but on this showing one that he should visit more often. ‘Nothing Left Tt Say’ features yet another electric guitar feast and another shaking of the head as to why Wade isn’t more highly hailed as the brilliant guitarist he so obviously is. ‘Memories’ is Wade in mellow mode, recalling the golden age of singer/songwriters but with his own unique twist. If you’ve liked any of Wade’s previous albums you will find plenty to love here. If for some reason you’ve yet to hear Wade’s music then ‘Stopping to Admire the Flowers’ is as good a place to start as any. It covers the whole spectrum of his music. As usual with any Dodson & Fogg album this is an amazing collection of songs written and performed by one of our most underrated and talented artists.

Track Listing:-
1 Stopping to Admire the Flowers (Part 1)
2 The Old Man
3 I Wish This Would Never End
4 Never Let You Down
5 Nothing to Say
6 Memories
7 It's Gonna Be Good
8 You Need to Cut Off
9 Gaze At Pictures
10 Stopping to Admire the Flowers (Part 2)
11 She Was Gone

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