I’ve neglected the rugby union recently both on these ‘umble pages and in, as they say, real life. A family event in North Wales stole me away from the home European tie against
Robert Forster’s solo album The Evangelist is beautiful and utterly moving. The former Go-Between has conjured up seven new songs and has recorded three numbers that he had written with songwriting partner Grant McLennan before his tragic and premature death three years ago. These tracks are the most poignant; they indicate just how wondrous the pair’s talent for melody and lyricism was and, sadly, could have continued to have been. Forster touchingly sings of his deep affection for McLennan throughout the record and it’s incredibly moving. The personal reflections like “It was a head trip, it was a friendship, he picked me up when I might have slipped and not done a thing” bring a lump to the old throat; it all needed saying though. It’s not all melancholia and affecting nostalgia. Forster’s gift for a killer line, a throwaway statement that most songwriters wouldn’t consider, remains. An example from the pleasing and up tempo Let The Light In, Babe: “I live by myself. A mile from the church and do my work at home. The house was a gift, given from a friend on whom I used to care. Named Silius Farm, though it’s not a farm, but a house amidst trees.” That’s classic Forster with its tiny details, the rhyming of 'farm' with 'farm' (!), the story within a story and even the quaint choice of language: I adore the use of ‘amidst’ and ‘on whom’. The Evangelist is a really fine album, critically acclaimed as Forster’s solo masterpiece, and, as a tribute to a lost friend, truly breathtaking.