Wilson, Damian - I Thought The World Was Listening 1997-2011,
This double CD digipak (full title is ‘I Thought The World Was Listening 1997 – 2011’) is Damian’s first compilation, with 31 re-mastered, re-recorded or previously unheard songs. I have long been a fan of Damian’s, whether it be with Landmarq, Threshold, Star One, Ayeron or Rick Wakeman (that particular album, ‘Out There’, is one of the finest prog albums ever in my humble opinion). The first time I met him in person was when I was queued outside the Marquee waiting to see Jadis and Shadowland on the ‘Lurve Ambassadors’ tour – and he was excitedly going up and down the line talking to everyone. That night he was a last minute replacement for the extremely ill Geoff Mann, and he captivated everyone with his melodies and vocals. He has long been widely regarded as one of the finest singers to come from these shores, and I still feel that Iron Maiden would have been better choosing him instead of Blaze after Bruce’s departure (I would love to hear the tapes of that audition if they exist), as he is much more of a singer than a shouter. He hits all of the notes with a grace and elegance, a real performer as well as a showman which has enabled him to take a lead role in the UK National Tour of Les Mis as well as being an in demand guest vocalist with different bands.
This album is extremely diverse, lots of acoustic and gentle stuff but also some that is much more in your face such as “Please Don’t Leave Me ‘Till I Leave You” which is a fun party song in direct contrast to the one that follows, “Never Close The Door” which is a sad ethereal joy to listen to with gentle guitars and violin. Whenever I think of Damian as a solo artist, the song that springs to mind is “She’s Like A Fable” which is song 13 on CD1. It may be only just over three minutes long but it belongs to the time of Cat Stevens in his prime, and in a better world would be a song known by all. Damian is a musician who has worked hard at his craft, and this compilation shows a very different side to the same man who came up with the lyrics and melody to the crushing and awe-inspiring “Sanity’s End” (and if you don’t know this classic from Threshold’s debut ‘Wounded Land’ then you need to rectify that immediately if not sooner).
This compilation is a must for every lover of good music, and the digipak release and artwork does justice to what is contained within.