Artist picture of Michael Chapman

Michael Chapman

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After All This Time Michael Chapman 04:05
Sinfonia concertante in E flat for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, K.297b : Mozart: Sinfonia concertante in E flat for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, K.297b - 3. Andantino con variazioni Neil Black, Jack Brymer, Alan Civil, Michael Chapman 08:48
Memphis in Winter Michael Chapman 06:50
Caddo Lake Michael Chapman 05:55
Rabbit Hills Michael Chapman 04:09
Aviator Michael Chapman 09:30
Fishbeard Sunset Michael Chapman 00:39
Postcards Of Scarborough Michael Chapman 05:19
It’s Too Late Michael Chapman 04:24
March Rain Michael Chapman 03:46

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Fingerstyle guitar picker Michael Chapman – born in Leeds, England on January 24, 1941 -  came up through folk clubs in the 1960s, but his intricate, atmospheric style was influenced more by jazz, flamenco, and blues masters. He later becoming an unlikely cult hero to alternative US audiences thanks to the admiration of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Growing up in the working-class suburb of Hunslet in Leeds, Michael Chapman bought his first guitar at 15-years-old and was swept up by the skiffle craze of the mid-1950s before developing his own unique technique, taking inspiration from Big Bill Broonzy and Django Reinhardt records. Jazz guitarists Kenny Burrell and Grant Green, bluesmen Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin’ Hopkins and New Orleans trumpeter Ken Colyer were also big influences, and his gigs with numerous local bands helped pay his way through art college and land a job teaching photography and fine art in Lancashire. Taking a trip to Cornwall in 1966, his professional music career kickstarted when he stumbled into a folk club in Newquay and agreed to play for half an hour instead of paying the entrance fee. Landing a residency at the club, he spent the rest of the summer playing six nights a week and living on the beach in the back of his van as he became part of a vibrant local folk scene that included Ralph McTell and Wizz Jones. His teaching job soon fell by the wayside, and he went on to play regularly at the legendary Les Cousins club in Soho alongside British folk guitar icons John Martyn, Roy Harper, and Bert Jansch. Michael Chapman’s 1969 debut album Rainmaker made him a well-respected star on progressive label Harvest. Experimental artists John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef also inspired Chapman to absorb Eastern scales and Indian-style melodies into his sound, and his follow-up, Fully Qualified Survivor (1970), was heavily championed by Radio 1 DJ John Peel and featured swirling psychedelic ambience, lush orchestral flourishes and the strutting guitar licks of Mick Ronson. Ronson and his bandmates were soon turned into David Bowie's backing group The Spiders from Mars and the quirky phrasing and glam melancholy on Bowie's Hunky Dory album owed a huge debt to Michael Chapman. His influence also spread to Jimmy Page who borrowed generously from Chapman's track “Kodak Ghosts” on the opening of Led Zeppelin's landmark hit “Stairway to Heaven”. Becoming a self-described journeyman musician, his tender, nostalgic ballad “Postcards from Scarborough” became a key calling card, and he enjoyed many adventures in the 1970s including touring with John Fahey, making the stomping Savage Amusement (1976) while further experimenting with guitar tunings and primitive feedback effects. His excessive lifestyle took its toll creatively in the '80s and he eventually suffered a heart attack, but he worked his way back from obscurity and, while on tour in the US, met Thurston Moore who revered his 1971 album Millstone Grit. Moore helped him team up with Pelt's Jack Rose and funded experimental album The Resurrection and Revenge of the Clayton Peacock in 2011. The following year’s tribute album Oh Michael, Look What You've Done featured a cast of fans and old compatriots including Maddy Prior, Lucinda Williams and Hiss Golden Messenger. Light in the Attic reissued digitally remastered editions of his first four albums, introducing a new generation to his influential music. After suffering a spell of writer’s block, Chapman returned to form by working with songwriter-producer Steve Gunn on 50 in 2017, a tribute to America that marked his 50 years as a performer. He also collaborated with Israeli guitarist Ehud Banai on EB=MC2 and returned in 2019 with the album True North featuring fellow cult folk favorite Bridget St. John, cellist Sarah Smout and pedal steel player BJ Cole. In 2020, Mooncrest Records began reissuing albums from his back catalog including Americana, Plaindealer + Twisted Road (2CD), and Sweet Powder + Wrytree Drift (2CD). In 2021, the label also issued the three CD set The Decca Years 1974-77. Michael Chapman died on September 10, 2021, at the age of 80.