Michael Weston King - I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Michael Weston King - I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier

by Paul Downey Rating:7 Release Date:2010-08-09

The maing thing with a protest album is: they're either really good or just plain bad. Luckily, Michael Weston King's I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier is a gem.

The title song provides a superb highlight with thought-provoking and genuine lyrics, while the track itself is very sombre in tone. Unfortunately, King did not write it, which takes off minor gloss, but it was actually penned way back in 1915 during the First World War as one of the first protest songs by Alfred Bryan.

What King does give it is direction and his all; you can tell by how he sings it that he believes in the issues raised in the song. Being a protest album at heart, the tracks really shine when King sinks his teeth into issues such as war, love, loss, imigration and even Government. There are no punches pulled here, best displayed on 'I Pity the Poor Imigrant' and 'Parish Rope' in which he sings of a suffering nation.

Musically the themes are channeled brilliantly through a mix of slow tempo drums, acoustic guitars and even a harmonica is thrown in on the excellent 'In Spain the Dogs Are Too Tired to Bite You'. King's voice does resemble an early Dylan in parts with mixes of Neil Young, and certainly fits the territory.

The only downsides are the aimless 'Cops of the World' and 'Sounds of Our Time', which become almost generic and miss the lyrical rasp of the other tracks. Closer 'Simple Song of Freedom' rounds things off nicely with its sombre tone, and pulls no punches in its lyrics which, in a nutshell, is the reason this album works. Like any protest album, though, it will find its audience; luckily that audience will be treated to something special.

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