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Makerfield Reviews

August/September 2003
Casual acquaintance might have you wondering if this really is the same guy who power riffs Oysterband - but yes, this Alan Prosser is one and the same. More years ago than he may care to remember and in another group entirely (whisper Fi*%!rs Dr*m), the esteemed Karl Dallas had him marked down; "His thoughtful guitar playing is worth travelling miles to hear" . Nothing much changes then because here's AP with a subtitle of English Acoustic Guitar, and a display of exactly how thoughtful he can be. Get set to travel miles!

Alan Prosser is a polyglot stylist, he takes heed of much and creates a bag of tricks that sounds at once familiar yet new. And yes, it does come over as English, despite some of the 13 tracks being anchored in such disparate places as Canada, Scandinavia (my assumption that one), and Austria. In fact, throw in musicians digs, friendly kitchens and chummy firesides he has known, and this could be a `road' album. Mr. Prosser gives few hints he just plays.

It's a diverting selection that'll keep a grin of pure satisfaction on your face and a clear conscience about squeezing yet another fROOTS recommended album out of your current account. As his digits throw out different shapes and chase across the frets, finger - twisting bluesish runs on Canmore, Chunkily jigging Tanyardside (echoes of Brass Monkey), speedy riffery The Move, warm, medieval, courtly preciseness on William and Claire, reflective atmospherics in The Day is Ending. You wonder if there's anything he hasn't absorbed! His message; diversity is the creed.

It would have been all too easy to call in some heavy duty names to add flourishes here and there, but strings, keys and effects it's all him, production too. Maker field is a solo in every sense of the word. So, a graceful collection that quietly and with little fuss shows the versatility of one guitar and a pair of hands. A shot of creativity - get addicted.

Simon Jones, fRoots magazine August 2003
You're a folk music fan, sitting in a fellow folk fans living room, chilling out, maybe having a few beers and listening to some very technical yet highly atmospheric acoustic guitar music. Whilst chatting you suddenly become more aware of the surrounding music and begin to wonder to yourself who this is performing, so you ask. Who is this playing mate? you subtly drop into the conversation. Its the new solo album from Alan Prosser, you know, the guitarist from the Oysterband. You seem to be taken aback by that, you never knew this side of Prosser, you never knew the class and expertise in which he quite blatantly oozes on his acoustic guitar. This was how I felt, infact the above little story was me and how I first came to hear this record (Ive always quite fancied myself as a short story writer, what do you think answers on a postcard!).

Since writing reviews, especially those in the field of folk and acoustic music I really have grown to enjoy solo instruments, especially acoustic guitar. When you hear an accomplished acoustic guitar player it always looks amazing, all that complicated finger movement and impeccable time keeping. Its very rare however to reproduce that inspiring performance on recorded material. Prosser does and achieves it with style.

The whole album plays with ease, flowing from one tune to another involving different tempos, major and minor chord changes and nice use of dynamics that gives the album that free flowing quality. There is never a point in the album where you are saying to yourself didnt I hear that track earlier?. It was hard to pick stand out tracks as it flowed so well but certainly the title track Makerfield with its atmospheric, laid back feel was very pleasing on the ear. In contrast the fast, expertly picked tune The Move will have the mood changed drastically, you cant help but be impressed.

Although this is majority just Prosser and an acoustic guitar there are a couple of songs on here, he is after all a writer on many of the great Oyster numbers. I have to say River of Steel blew me away and will remain one of my favourites for many years Im sure. Why this man doesnt sing more on Oysterband numbers I dont know but if he can write and sing songs as well constructed and catchy as this one I look forward to hearing an albums worth one day, sensational, and that is no lie believe me!

This is no ordinary acoustic guitar album. It has portrayed a completely different musical side of a man seen by many as a great rhythm guitarist with one of the great folk bands. This is a side of Prosser that has been kept very much under wraps and I for one am very glad it has finally been unleashed!

Phil Daniels

NEWfolkSOUNDS December 2003/ January 2004
Alan Prosser is bekend al gedreven gitarist van de Oysterband. Op Makerfield laat hij zich van een heel andere kant zien; als bedachtzame, subtiel spelende akoestische gitarist, die een enorme varietie aan stijlen en invioeden tot een vioeiend geheel weet te smeden. Canmore klinkt bluesy in de geest van Davey Graham. William and Claire haakt aan op oude musiek. The day is ending is meer bezonken, new age-achtig. The move krachtig, snel en vituoos. Op enkele nummers, met name het gevoelige River of steel, laat Prosser bovendium horen ook goed te kunen zingen, een talent dat bij de Oysterband nooit veel ruimte kreeg. Alles op deze plaat, inclusief de spaarzame overige instrumentatie, geluidstechniek en de heldere productie productie verzorgt hij bovendien zelf. De Prosser van Makerield kendon we nog niet. Hoplijk volgt er meer van.

Michiel van Harten

Folk Bulletin December 2003
Anche Alan Prosser non e da meno, com'e altrettanto interessante il suo secondo lavoro solista "Makerfield" . Chi lo aveva gia sentitl con quale grinta tirava fuori gli accordi o gli assoli nella Oysterband, non rimarra sorpreso nel sentire con quale tocca e precisione Prosser sappia gestire la sei corde in solitudine. L'album lo vede alle prese con un materiale piu aperto e originale rispetto alla tradizione, ma sempre comunque circoscritto alla scuola chitarristica inglese con Bert Jansch e Nic Jones in prima fila. Anche se con un fraseggio ampio e solare il chitarrista esplora diversa stili, il suono e l'atmosfera rinamgono ancorate tra le terre anglosassoni, una specie di mezza via tra la tradizione irruente di Tony McManus e l'innovazione focosa di Colin Reid. Una chitarra senza eccessi, melodica e pulita, senza un timbro deciso, ma senza neanche la fretta e l'ansia che sembrano avere la maggior parte dei chitarristi piu famosi. Un lavaro trquillo, sereno ben suonato e arrangiato, in cui la chitarra, seppur regina, non diventa dispotica ma lascia che la melodia conduca il gioco.

Roberto Menabo

Penguin Eggs Magazine No.30, Summer 2006
If my editor wasn't such a hard task-master I'd try to get away with writing "Great guitar playing CD". He demands more of me though, so here goes. Prosser is the man FRoots called "The guy who power riffs Oysterband". This shows him in an entirely different light, however. The playing and production - all his own work - really are outstanding. The majority of Makerfield features just Prosser and an acoustic guitar. He has an extremely strong left hand which allows him to execute lightning fast pull-offs and hammer-ons. He also has a rich melodic sensibility that give the tunes depth and strength in abundance. He is a fan of the great English guitar hall of fame which includes such luminaries as John Martyn, Bert Jansch, Martin Simpson, Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy. If he continues to put out material of this calibre his name will soon be used in the same breath as his heroes.

Tim Readman

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