He Hath Made Me Glad is Leo Cookman's second studio album but the first without a band.
Recorded in a single day at Blueprint Studios in Manchester, England, HHMMG is a self confessed Blues album. Yet whilst there are traditional Blues songs from the 30s and before on it, the album largely consists of original material that Leo describes as the Blues 'in feeling' but not how purists may define it. Having played with the likes of George Melly and Humphrey Littleton, Leo is well versed in the classic form of Blues but want's to move it forward by breaking away from the binding structure of 12 bars and 3 chords.
The approach to the recording helped. HHMMG takes its cue from the earliest blues recordings by using one man and his instrument in a room with a microphone. All the tracks are unedited single takes with minimal overdubs. Guitar, piano and vocals are all that will be heard on this record and this is its strength. Without the luxury of re-takes, drop-ins or auto-tune each track is lightning in a bottle, warts-and-all performance that gives the record a down to earth and raw feel that is inherently Bluesy whilst the material swings from genre to genre, encompassing Pop, Boogie Woogie, Jazz, A Capella, Ballads and Country yet all with melancholy behind the lyrics and an energy behind the performance.
Leo had been performing the songs live around Manchester for a while and the response was encouraging so he booked the studio time to try and capture the feel of his live shows. He succeeded. In an age where technology is almost smothering, Leo stripped it back to the bare bones as much as he could and let the music do the talking. Not to say there isn't technology at work. Blueprint Studios is a new studio with bleeding edge sound equipment that Leo utilised to the full. The one thing people don't like about those old records is the lack of clarity, no such problems here.
He Hath Made Me Glad is also a tribute to many friends and family who influenced Leo musically, namely his father Brian Cookman. Leo and Brian performed as a duo doing classic pre-war Blues of the 30s and 40s for many years and was where Leo learned the ropes.
This album is one that should be listened to as a whole and enjoyed whenever and wherever. If you have ever felt heartache of any kind there is a song on here for you and even if you want to jump around and dance you won't be disappointed either. So go and take your seat at the bar, fix yourself a drink and feel the Blues.