Reviews

“Richards is a master of his craft”

Taplas

“One of the finest songwriters of the day. The best of the modern genre of contemplative song writing by one of the best.”

Folk on Tap, reviewing Behind the Lines John’s solo CD

“John’s an indisputably significant songwriter. The conviction of the words is matched by the soaring lyrical passion of the melodies, the stature and shape of the lines putting me in mind of John Tams. Behind the Lines is really superb if long overdue and a must for your collection.”

Dave KidmanNet Rhythms

I am very lucky to have been the first person to record a John Richards song - (Did you like) The Battle - in 1976. John has regularly sent me new songs since then and this, among others, has been part of my repertoire for many years. What marks him out as a songwriter is his talent for seeing things from an unexpected perspective. Here, a sea captain’s vainglory turns to remorse in the face of tragedy.

Paul Downes

John Richards’ epic sea song Honour and Praise is magnificent.”

Colin Irwin, Folk Roots reviewing Gladys’ Leap by Fairport Convention

Many readers will know of him via songs like

Did you like the battle? Honour and Praise, The Deserter, and Roaring Water Bay covered by Show of Hands and Fairport.

He proves more than capable of doing justice to his own songs, for me the best was The Moth, the only love song in the set (and possibly the first I’ve ever heard refer to Jackie Collins novels)

Nick Beale, Folk Roots

The Deserter is certainly one of my favourites – thanks again”

Simon Nicol

“Here’s a beautiful version of a great song.”

Mike Harding on playing Michael Black’s version of John’s The Deserter on his show (Sept 2007)

John Richards is without doubt in the highest echelon of British songwriters and is recognised as such by fellow musicians who have recorded his material. The fact that he has not gained greater recognition outside the folk world is an absolute crime”

Trevor Durden reviewing a gig at the Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford Nov 04

John Richards is one of our finest writers and singers.

He specialises in powerful songs which you can neither ignore nor forget.

Listen to Shine On, it’s a perfect song deserving to be sung every night of the week in a club somewhere.

Bill Caddick

“John’s song Walls of Hope (Hallsands) will no doubt get the sort of attention it deserves and add to his considerable reputation as a song writer of real stature.”

Garry Copeland reviewing the CD Walls of Hope 2nd June 2006

“If I was a philosophy lecturer I wouldn’t give the students any textbooks I’d give them a John Richards’s CD and tell them to start learning”

Matt Swindlehurst

Baggeridge Festival Director (Sept 04)

Mary Black’s brother releases solo debut.

Nicola Joyce delivered a stunning rendition of Suzanne Vega’s antiwar song The Queen and the Soldier on Grada’s latest CD Cloudy Day Navigation and here Michael Black rivals Joyce in his moving interpretation of John Richards’s antiwar song The Deserter.”

The Irish Echo, New York City reviewing the new Michael Black CD (July 2007)

The Deserter and The Boys are on Parade would have fit right in at the old Newport Folk Festival.”

Irish Philadelphia

Reviewing Michael Black’s new CD (July 2007) which includes John’s The Deserter

“He offers a collection of powerful, timely, and melodic original and adapted songs sung with conviction and feeling.”

Dirty Linen Magazine, Baltimore USA, reviewing Walls of Hope

“I was delighted to get this CD of songs from a writer who has had his work covered by the many of the great and good of the folk world including one of my favourite Fairport Acoustic songs The Deserter.

It’s difficult to pick out highlights from a consistently fine CD my favourites being I won’t let you down, a gentle song with beautiful words, Hallsands … and If you can walk you can dance which has been stuck in my head for days.

In all, lovely songs, great words and sharp instrumentals make this collection a delight.”

Chris Patti, Tykes Folk Magazine, re Walls of Hope

“Nic liked your version of it very much and liked Emma’s voice. The track that really knocked him out was I won’t let you down he thinks it’s a great song.”

Julia Jones, re the JRB version of Ploughman Lads (learned from the singing of her husband Nic Jones) and Walls of Hope in general.

“All but one of the songs are from John’s own pen and trust me there are some real crackers here.

The finest of these songs have all the epic sweep of John Tams work.

John’s compositions are songs that refuse to be ignored, indeed.”

David Kidman of Net Rhythms reviewing Walls of Hope .

“We’ve received the CD. It’s brilliant, some lovely songs and tunes and some great arrangements. Can’t wait to hear you at Common Folk.”

Margaret and Steve, organisers of Common Folk, Pelsall, re Walls of Hope.

“Richards has form as a literate songwriter who can adopt quite a variety of idioms.”

Froots Magazine re Walls of Hope

“The CD is fabulous, everything on it is so well crafted with excellent arrangements, I love it”

Bram Taylor on Walls of Hope June 2006

John is a wonderful songwriter and I can recommend the album to anyone”

Dave Johns, reviewing a gig at Scrag End Folk Club 21st May 2006

“Listen to this album if you get the chance, it’s a gem”

Garry Copeland reviewing the four track CD If you can walk you can Dance

“John’s song writing and powerful performances are second to none.

Bob Bignell

Bromsgrove Folk Club

“One of our finest writers and singers, just listen to ‘Shine On’ a perfect song.

I have been a fan for a long time. Get this CD”

Bill Caddick on Behind the Lines

John Richards reputation as one of our most interesting songsmiths continues to grow.

An old fashioned balladeer who knows how to tell stories and fit them with enviable craftsmanship to tunes that are easy on the ear and which usually have choruses that defy you not to join in.

Little wonder that Fairport and Show of Hands have been keen to record his songs.

Gary Copeland, Express and Star

Despite his material being covered by the likes of Fairport Convention, Bill Caddick and Robin Dransfield, John Richards has tended to go largely unnoticed.

From Behind the Lines it’s easy to see why he’s considered such a fine writer.

From the epic seafaring tale Honour and Praise to Polly, Richards is a master of his craft.

Taplas 

John Richards getting better every song, here he contributes five numbers that give more strength to half an album than most bands get on two sides. The whole album stands head and shoulders above most better known rivals.

Mike Davies, Birmingham What’s On

The Deserter is another of John Richards excellent historical cameos which is ideally suited to Nicols voice.

Graham Onions, Whats on Magazine.

Reviewing Simon Nicols Before Your Time

Make no mistake, these are all songs written by people who understand their craft thoroughly.

There are two outstanding tracks, John Richards The Deserter and Rosemary’s sister by Gwents own Huw Williams.

Taplas

Reviewing Simon Nicols Before your Time

The most part of the album is in the mould of John, Honour and Praise, Richards The Deserter.

John Boocock

The Ledge

Reviewing Before Your Time by Simon Nicol

Highlights are the bands fine Red and Gold, Simon Nicols solo on John Richards The Deserter and ———

Steve Morris

Brum Beat Magazine

Also in the anger department is John Richards How do you sleep.

This catalogue of amorality almost moves me to civil disobedience.

This is a song I hope to hear on the radio a lot.

David Freeman, Radio Oxford/Jazz FM

Reviewing Euphony in Vordermanland by Simon Nicol

Personal favourite is John Richards song The Deserter.

Ian Smith

Musician Unions Magazine

reviewing Fairports XXXV