Empty Train by David Francey, Laker Music, Out Now
Like a volley of yorkers firing out of a bowling machine, Empty Train and singer-songwriter David Francey never misses a mark in committing humanity to music.
One by one, hospital patients, Naval seamen, sporting missionaries and brothel keepers all loom into Francey’s gaze as the Ayrshire-born factory workers’ son and his band present a searing commentary on 21st century civilisation.
One example is Francey’s support for the underdog in life with The Money Boys, just 50 seconds long and yet damning in its criticism of stockbrokers, financiers and brokers for whom “The Third World’s half a world away”, according to the folksmith.
Other gemstones on Empty Train are False Knight, possibly dealing with the heroes of childhood who all too soon dash their dreams and reputations, Blue Girl which deals with the sordid reality of pornography and Crucible, Francey’s own take on Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem, Dulce et Decorum Est.
But the reviewer’s personal highlight is the prophetic Holy Ground, as close to a Chris Rea/Shane McGowan/Bruce Springsteen gospel song as you can get.
Empty Train is a prime example of how, in music terms, simplicity is best.
Review by Winston Brown