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Published: 2009/06/01
by Pat Buzby

The Freak of Araby – Sir Richard Bishop

Solo CDs come in two varieties. In some, the musician attempts to be melodic enough to overcome the limits of an isolated instrument. In others, the austerity is the point.

Except for its extended opening cut, The Freak Of Araby isnt a solo guitar disc. However, Sir Richard Bishop has been working primarily as a solo acoustic artist since the breakup of his former band, the Sun City Girls, and although he plugs in and adds a rhythm section here, the backing is restrained enough that this disc still has the feel of a solo disc. And although the focus is on melody, the songs are exotic enough and the presentation simple enough that the disc remains an austere experience.

Bishops plan was to pay tribute to guitarist Omar Khorshid and to acknowledge his own Lebanese roots. As a result, this CD will appeal to fans of the harmonic minor scale. It also provides an exercise in drawing comparisons the opening solo Taqasim For Omar has a raga feeling, while Bishops rare solos are a bit like Richard Thompsons work.

Bishop established himself as a musical traveler with the Sun City Girls. The Freak Of Araby is an experience for those who want to go to strange places, and dont mind a lack of luxury along the way.

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