MICHAEL CHAPMAN

Moseley Folk 2017 - Michael Chapman

Although born in Yorkshire, Chapman spent much of the late-60s and his subsequent career on the London and Cornish music circuits. Now considered a cult guitar great, his ragged, rambling style, marked by flashes of acoustic brilliance first became known in Cornwall, where he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. A former art and photography teacher, Chapman produced major releases for EMI’s Harvest label and Decca Records during the late-60s and 70s and has since been a prolific recorder and performer throughout his entire career. Recent years have seen something of a rebirth for his popularity, with bands like Supergrass citing him as a key influence.

In 1969 Chapman and his partner Andru saw Nick Drake play in Hull and he ended up coming back to their place afterwards. “Back home, he opened his guitar case, took out a beautiful Martin and three joints and I said: ‘OK I’m with him,’” recalled Chapman to the Guardian, smiling. “We played until five in the morning. The next day he was gone. That was our only meeting.”

Chapman’s second album Fully Qualified Survivor was John Peel’s favourite record of 1970 and reached 45 in the album charts. Featuring the characteristically tender and sour song Postcards of Scarborough, the song recounted feelings of nostalgia and regret and helped to define Chapman’s influential role of the melancholic observer. It featured David Bowie’s future guitarist Mick Ronson and Elton John’s future producer Gus Dudgeon. Upon its re-release it was referred to as a “gorgeous masterpiece” by Spin magazine and a “folk-rock wonder of quietly Northern miserabilism” by Uncut. After five decades of recording and touring, this year Chapman has created 50 – described as “Easily strong enough to act as an ideal entry point to Chapman’s extensive discography, and quite likely the veteran’s definitive statement” by Line of Best Fit.