Michael Chapman - 50
Critic Score
Based on 7 reviews
2017 Ratings: #132 / 712
User Score
Based on 11 ratings
January 20, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Paradise of Bachelors / Label
Folk / Genres
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Your Review


The Line of Best Fit

Easily strong enough to act as an ideal entry point to Chapman's extensive discography, and quite likely the veteran's definitive statement, 50 deserves to reap all possible plaudits.


While there are hacksaw marks here and there, 50 is a finely turned piece that surveys the looming thunderclouds of mortality and the biblical gloom of the times, and – quietly, unshowily – transcends both.

The Independent
Extraordinarily, over a nearly 50-year recording career featuring guitar work infused with all manner of American jazz, blues and ragtime influences, Michael Chapman had never before recorded an American album – a situation rectified here with a combo of younger devotees attracted by his burgeoning reputation as a surviving master guitarist to rival John Fahey.

Even as it draws on new and old songs, 50 presents a startlingly current and nearly apocalyptic vision of America; it’s album full of brimstone and brine, perhaps more perfect for this moment in history than we’d like to admit.


Chapman is an artist who has never had a problem with upending creative expectations, and if 50 isn't the sort of music many of his longtime fans would expect from him, it's also passionate, literate, and the work of an artist who wants to make the most of his late-era career. Not many artists sound this determined and engaged, especially at the age of 75.

God Is in the TV

So while perhaps not the late career classic one might almost feel obliged to review, 50 adds a welcome ellipsis to an astonishing career of a musician who has not only tackled a myriad of genres but has also embraced (and continues to) the changes and developments of the modern music era.

+ Yeaaaaaah another folk album !
+ Engaged ...
+ Good balance between classic/modern sounds ...

(- ... in America's problems that I, unfortunely, don't know)
- ... But it's not really transcendent
It's a bit old man, a little bluesy and a lot husky...but thankfully that's where the comparisons with Chris Rea end.

This is a trad folk rock album with expansive tendencies that also packs an impressive effortless feel, particularly in regards to the lyrics/vocals.

The only slight weakness is every song here comes in at over 4:40 and give or take use the same basic ingredients, so concentration can dip from time to time.
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#90/Drift Records

Track List

  1. A Spanish Incident (Ramón and Durango)
  2. Sometimes You Just Drive
  3. The Mallard
  4. Memphis in Winter
  5. The Prospector
  6. Falling from Grace
  7. Money Trouble
  8. That Time of Night
  9. Rosh Pina
  10. Navigation
Contributions By
patton, philthy, thisisabtlgrnd
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Added on: January 11, 2017