- 10 Jan 20
OLD BOWIE COMRADE DELIVERS THE GOODS
Longevity being the hardest thing to achieve in music, you have to take your hat (metaphorical or otherwise) off to Keith Christmas, who's still strumming away at the age of 73.
His career got off to the most stellar of '60s starts when he played acoustic guitar on David Bowie's Space Oddity album and then gigged at the first Glastonbury. A much-loved fixture on the hippie underground – tours with the likes of Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Hawkwind followed – his chances of a commercial breakthrough were effectively ended by punk. So, while his old Beckenham pal went on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet, Keith settled for cult folk-rock status.
Sporting a moonlit image of Stonehenge on the cover, Life, Life sets its out stall out with 'Round The Stones', a song Peter Gabriel might have conjured up if he'd fallen in with Fairport Convention rather than Genesis. Christmas' weathered rasp – it's his real name by the way – turns the title-track into something halfway between Steeleye Span and that other Kent boy, Shane MacGowan, in one of his more sensitive moods.
'Love In The Gold' had this reviewer thinking of Finbar Furey – the timbre of their voices is remarkably similar – while 'Love That Surrounds' is a gorgeous song of spiritual sustenance, underpinned by Keith's fabulous picking. A fine storyteller, Christmas' best years still could be ahead of him.