***** - Review by Rob Adams from today's Herald
It may seem strange to talk about new-found confidence when considering a musician who has some 40 years’ experience of treading the boards and a substantial body of recorded work, but the recent flowering of Michael Marra as not just a songwriter of singular gifts but as a performer, indeed entertainer capable of bringing these songs to vivid life has to do with belief in himself and his talent.
They were always brilliantly observed songs but these days, to hear Marra sing of General Grant visiting Dundee with haughty disdain or Dr John laying his voodoo groove on Blairgowrie is to be transported right to the heart of the action and reminded just how many ingenious lines Marra can invoke in one verse.
He sings these lines with fabulous relish in that distinctive foggy growl to his ever-concise piano accompaniments, bringing out every nuance of characterisation, and as a man of persuasive wit, he revels in the Dundonian art of geein’ cheek.
His use of acronyms in the love-in-the-personal-columns mischief of She Said, He Said is superbly funny, his unaccompanied ballad-styled Muggie Sha’ scarily hilarious and if anyone else could have an audience community singing “butchers’ hough and tinkies’ gochles, wha can tell the diff’rence?”, tell me their names.
A by turns mad, touching and historically diverting performance from a true master.