Paul Cowley – Long Time Comin’
Self-Release – 2021
12 tracks; 56.45 minutes
Originally from Birmingham, England, Paul Cowley has lived and worked in France for the last ten years and this is his fourth independent release. An accomplished acoustic player, Paul plays and sings solo on seven originals and five covers from the masters of early blues. The general mood is introspective but strongly anchored in the blues throughout, making this an interesting project for fans of acoustic blues. The sessions were recorded in December 2020/January 2021, right in the thick of Covid, but several of the songs have been in Paul’s repertoire for some time.
The title track certainly reflects Paul’s life in France as he sings of “slow cooked meals and red wine” but he reckons that he has “served my time”, so any success that he gets has, indeed, been a long time coming. In Blind Boy Fuller’s “Lost Lover Blues” Paul wrings all the emotion from the lyrics in this classic country blues before he tells us about himself in the gentle “Simple Life”: “I’ve lived a simple life, never found a wife”, though he goes on to detail a series of former girlfriends in a series of amusing sketches! “Found Out You Lied” is another slow-paced tune that made me think of Bob Dylan in the way Paul phrases the lyrics, a classic tale of the woman who lets him down. Charley Patton’s “Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues” ups the pace as Paul fingerpicks and sets the beat on his guitar frame. The sound of rain opens and closes the lengthy “Rainin’”, another slow-paced and rather repetitive track with good slide work.
Three covers follow: Mississippi John Hurt’s “Louis Collins” describes the tragic death of a young man and his mother’s distress. Paul overdubs slide and backing vocals in a very effective version. “Confession Blues” comes from Ray Charles and Paul gives it a country blues feel before Blind Willie McTell’s “Love Changin’ Blues” which has some lovely, shimmering slide work on a slow blues. “Don’t Need Too Much” has added drums, bass and lead guitar courtesy of studio engineer Pascal Ferrari who also adds cajon to three other tracks; despite the added instrumentation the overall feel is still country blues as Paul emphasizes that he’s a simple guy who does not need a lot from life. The longest cut here is “Lightnin’s Train”, a moody slow blues with quite obscure lyrics, but beautifully played by Paul. A reprise of the title track closes the album, this time a solo performance by Paul without the cajon.
Acoustic blues fans will want to seek out this disc and relax with Paul Cowley’s laidback style of country blues – all the way from the Brittany Delta!