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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Apr 2019: Record Store Day > LIFE BEYOND SURVIVAL


A man whose life and work links Nick Drake, David Bowie and Sonic Youth, Michael Chapman is still a vital presence even as he approaches his 80s. Jonathan Wright meets the psych-folk pioneer

By his own estimation, Michael Chapman is enjoying a “resurgence” after years when he thought his capacity to write fresh material had “dried up and gone”. His new album, True N o r t h, like its 2017 predecessor, 50, features new songs: “You can’t imagine how pleased I was, because I thought [songwriting] was over and done with,” he says. “I thought, ‘If they want me to do an album, I’m going to have to do covers, even if I cover myself ’.”

Considering Chapman’s enviable back catalogue, reaching back to Rainmaker in 1969, this wouldn’t be the end of the world. Then again, one of the reasons Chapman’s reputation has grown down the years is because of his restlessness. He turned 78 in January, but Chapman’s need for reinvention hasn’t faded. “I’m not mentioning any names, but if I’d played it safe I could have had a lot more recognition, probably money and whatever, than I have, but I don’t make the same record twice,” he says.

This doesn’t preclude looking backwards for inspiration. True North is an album that calls to mind the rainswept vistas of Northumbria, where Chapman lives in a farmhouse in splendid isolation, yet one key inspiration was Jazz On A Summer’s Day, a film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. It was a documentary that introduced Chapman to the music of clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, a man whose approach anticipated the free improvisation techniques of the 1960s.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 25 of Long Live Vinyl comes with your free 40-page Official Record Store Day 2019 magazine, the complete guide to all 500+ releases to help you get ready for 13 April! It’s the only place you’ll find full details of every Record Store Day release, plus there’s the chance to win £50 of Record Tokens to give you a head start on the big day. Elsewhere in issue 25, we pay tribute to Neil Young, as his bandmates, producers and a host of musicians influenced by one of the world’s greatest songwriters tell us about 50 years with Shakey. We also speak to Sleeper, Beirut and Michael Chapman about their brilliant new albums, meet stellar producer Stephen Street, chart the rise of Discogs and welcome our new columnist, Pete Paphides. If all that’s not enough, you’ll find the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue and hardware reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.