Album Review: Foy Vance – Live at Bangor Abbey

bangorFoy Vance – Live at Bangor Abbey

Folk | Blues | Soul

84%

I have spoken before about my love for Foy Vance, so lets get some of the negatives out in the open first as biggest fans are also biggest critics. The setlist is very heavy on content from his album ‘Joy Of Nothing’; nine of the sixteen tracks are from it. ‘Joy Of Nothing’ is a brilliant album, my favourite album in fact, but for a first live album I would have liked to have a bit more variation. His first album ‘Hope’ is represented by only two tracks. There are some old favourites that are notably absent and which would have showcased his great soulful voice to better effect. Also there are moments in the first half of the album where the songs seem a little “copy & pasted”, a live album should flow and make you feel like you’re actually at the concert.

Thankfully the second half of the album does this excellently, songs have little background stories, there are jokes with the audience and they sing along to make the songs larger than life. At the end of ‘Guiding Light’ you can hear Foy go out among the audience and lead them in singing the chorus, and I must congratulate the people of Bangor on the excellent job they did! The music is bittersweet and you could equally listen to the album in moments of triumph, moments of heartbreak and everything inbetween. Foy’s songwriting and incredible voice are on top form and with a full band behind him all the songs sound as good as, if not better, than the studio versions. There are a couple of new songs on the album and special mention has to be given to ‘Make It Rain’, it’s one of the most powerful blues performances I’ve heard in a long while. I certainly recommend this album as a springboard into the music of a wonderful man and equally wonderful musician.