Michael Chapman - Window

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* Contextualizing essay by Michael‰۪s wife, Andru Chapman, featuring unseen archive photosåÊ

* Remastered from the original tapesåÊ

* LP housed in a deluxe Stoughton gatefold ‰ÛÏtip-on‰۝ jacketåÊ

Every artist has a piece of work that niggles them‰ÛÓsomething that they wish they could redo, given the chance. It‰۪såÊwhy Paul McCartney once reproduced Let It Be and why Kate Bush re-recorded Wuthering Heights for her best-ofåÊalbum. For the prolific Michael Chapman, that album is Window, the missing link in the series of Chapman‰۪s earlyåÊalbums being reissued by Light In The Attic Records. Window sits just after the previously released Fully QualifiedåÊSurvivor and Rainmaker, right before Wrecked Again.åÊ

In 1970, signed to the hip Harvest label (home to Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett, among others), Chapman was still anåÊartist waiting for that first big success, perpetually skint and permanently touring to make ends meet. With that in mind,åÊhe aimed to make Window in as little time as possible because being in the studio meant not being on the road.åÊ

Producer Gus Dudgeon‰ÛÒwho‰۪d been working with Elton John‰ÛÒhad other ideas and booked Chapman and his band intoåÊone of the UK‰۪s most expensive studios, Trident.åÊ

The singer-songwriter and prodigious guitarist was in transition from his folkier origins to his heavier future and headingåÊfor a whole mess of trouble with the same year‰۪s Wrecked Again. Given the touring bust-ups and tortured recordingåÊsessions to come, Michael‰۪s wife Andru Chapman remembers the recording of Window was noted for a ‰ÛÏlack ofåÊhiccups. No one threw their toys out of the pram, unlike Wrecked Again.‰۝ Recorded with U.S. guitar player PhilåÊGreenberg, violin player Johnny Van Derek, and pianist Alex Atterson, the album has a blend of electric and acousticåÊinstruments, both traditional and experimental at once, synthetic sounds melding with finger-picked guitars.åÊ

The trouble came later. Immediately after recording finished, Michael took the band back out on the road with theåÊunderstanding that as soon as he got back, he‰۪d put the final acoustic guitar tracks down to replace what he‰۪s alwaysåÊsaid were only guide tracks. Unfortunately, Harvest‰۪s parent label decided the album was finished and pressed it upåÊanyway. And Chapman, as a result, hates it. Indeed, 34 years later he even set out to right the wrong, re-recordingåÊparts of the LP and noting it was a strange experience listening to ‰ÛÏdead people on the between-track studio chatter‰۝åÊ(Dudgeon, engineer Robin Cable, and drummer Richie Dharma have all since passed).åÊ

As part of Light In The Attic‰۪s revival of Chapman‰۪s early career, however, the album is presented as was originallyåÊreleased, with Michael's blessing and albeit with two CD-only bonus tracks. Andru notes, "Warts and all, it is anåÊimportant part of the Michael Chapman: The Early Years story.‰۝ Michael has been less diplomatic in talking about theåÊalbum. "It is a piece of my history for those interested in that, even though I think it sounds like a piece of crap,‰۝ heåÊsays.åÊ