Stuart Warburton “Telemark”
It’s taken Stuart Warburton a fair old while to get around to releasing his debut album, though he’s a hardened veteran of the music wars, having fronted his band The Rhythmaires for a couple of decades. Despite some jaunty tunes and the fine political song “La Jilguera”, a poignant comment on the murdered Mexican women of Juarez, in the main it’s all heartbreak and despair round Warburton’s way. Relationships are on the way out or pointless, incompatibility rules, and most of them end like this great rhyme from the eponymous song: “Dolores; you know where the door is.”
“Fragile Heaven” is an acute observation of two people who stay together and kiss out of duty rather than desire. Drenched in mournful steel, it’s a beautiful piece of heartache while “The Legacy of You' is pretty much the last word on ennui and keeping on keeping on. For the music cognoscenti much fun can also be had spotting the various references to and quotes from other songs in the lyrics. There’s “Brilliant Disguise”, “Dallas from a DC-9”, “Painting my Masterpiece” and “I could say they’re laughter lines/but nothing’s quite that funny” to name but four and on “Say It Like You Mean It”, a tribute to the great Dan Penn, Warburton references many of his works including some of the tune of “I’m Your Puppet”.
The closing manifesto that is “Three Chords And the Truth” could stand as the epitaph-cum-raisin-d’être for many of those at music’s coalface, and few have put it better. Hopefully Warburton’s next album won’t take quite as long as this one to appear.