“a voice powerful and shimmering, as mystical as her name” †
In 1974, a group of young musicians from NL Canada, set out to forge the Folk Rock genre in North America and “convince a generation who followed that there is value in tradition.” †† The band was Figgy Duff, and it was fronted by a shy teenager with an uncanny ear for composition and a voice that would “lay you down on a bed of thoughts and dreams.” ††† That teenager, Pamela Morgan, has now grown up, “occupying a seminal place in Canada’s musical history,” †††† and is releasing her fourth solo CD, aptly entitled PLAY ON.
With a wealth of experience and the courage of her convictions, this is a calm, assured and forceful album. True to the pioneering spirit of Figgy Duff, it sounds like nobody else, although there are echoes of influence from decades past, particularly the folk revival and prog rock from the 60s - Nouveau Retro! Each track captures and fires the imagination, with a diverse range of styles and instrumentation, expertly united by that incredible voice, which “keeps getting better like fine wine, carrying the sounds of the wild Atlantic, with seabird highs and smooth bass crash of the waves, in rolling rhythm.” †††††
Pamela’s first instrument is piano, and it is featured here more prominently than on any of her previous work. Most of the recording (and the mixing and mastering) was done in England, in the cradle of Folk Rock near Cropredy, with seasoned session musicians of similar background and sensibility. Pete Zorn (Richard Thompson, Gerry Rafferty,) PJ Wright (Little Johnny England) Pete Smith, to name just a few, all lend their considerable skills, as do iconic Newfoundland musicians Kelly Russell, Dave Panting, and Anita Best.
Morgan is an “evocative lyricist and a captivating melodist”, †††††† and as the voice improves, so do the songs. Mature intelligent observation of the human condition, political commentary, a wry sense of humour, and a nod to her traditional music background all find their voice here. If Seven Years is a “fascinating life’s study” ††††††† then Play On is a celebration of that life.
†Washington Post ††Vancouver Folk Festival ††† The Press, Atlantic City †††† Sing Out Magazine, US ††††† David Dalton, online review †††††† Maclean’s magazine, CA ††††††† Billboard Magazine