‘Will’, the first album Alan Franks released with Patty Vetta, is now on iTunes.
Released in 1995 by Road Goes On Forever, Will was hailed by Time Out as one of the best Roots albums of the year.
‘Wonderful songs’, wrote the influential Rock ‘N’ Reel. ‘Vetta sings her heart out. I’d defy anyone to better this all-round display of perfection.’
With the actor and singer Charlotte Moore, Patty and Alan had been performing this album’s songs for several years at clubs and festivals, and on air.
The tracks, produced and recorded by Patty with Alan’s brother Michael Franks, ranged from the traditional jazz of Millionaires on Wall Street, through the spiritual styling of Government Hill, to the musical-hall echoes of I Only Loves Will. Among the most popular was the US country-influenced GI’s Lament, expressing the thoughts of an American serviceman stationed in London during the war.
Reviewers noted that the lyrics had the literacy of a writer familiar with the English classics, but also spotted the strong influence of other forms, such as blues, pop and chanson. Franks said at the time that one of the songwriters he most admired was the late French chansonnier George Brassens.
Will featured the playing of a wide variety of musicians, including: Bob Loveday on fiddle; Dave Olney, double bass; Andy Brown, bass; Al Stewart, saxophone and clarinet; Wes McGhee, Steve Reyonds, Tony Harris, guitar; Andy Brown, banjo.
The songwriter Jake Thackray wrote of the album: ‘Franks’s songs are lovely, true, complex, addictive things and I wish I could think and write and play like him and sing like Vetta can sing. This is the proper stuff, this is the real boogy, I promise.’