The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the British Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material, he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI’s Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.
The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the lead guitar of Mick Ronson (of David Bowie fame) and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp’s bass, was John Peel’s favorite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman ‘hit’, “Postcards of Scarborough”, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.
After the release of Wrecked Again, Chapman parted company with Harvest, choosing to sign to Decca’s subsidiary Deram, where he altered course somewhat, adding electric guitar and harder rhythms to his work. Several albums were released on Deram during the early to mid 1970’s including one produced by Memphis legend Don Nix.
Recording for numerous smaller record labels, and playing the folk and club circuits, the 1980’s was a quieter time for Chapman. He continued to make recordings that straddled musical genres and pushed his guitar playing to the fore, but had neither the profile nor sales of the previous decade.
The late 1990’s onwards represented a period of continued rebirth for Chapman. He embraced the ‘elder statesman’ role and enjoyed critical acclaim for albums like Navigation, Dreaming Out Loud and Still Making Rain (a wry pun title that looked back to his debut album). With the 1997 release of Dreaming Out Loud, Chapman was releasing albums at the rate of one every two years, while attracting high praise from the likes of Thurston Moore and Supergrass.
A decade later and Chapman is still going strong, having just toured United States in 2011.
Listen & Buy
Fully Qualified Survivor
Although not as well known as his peers (Roy Harper, John Marytn, and Bert Jansch), the name Michael Chapman is an important one in the linage of English folk rock guitarists and singer/songwriters of the late 60’s/early 70’s. Chapman’s 1970 Fully Qualified Survivor can be filled between Roy Harper’s Flat Baroque and Berserk, John Martyn’s Inside Out, and Bert Jansch’s Jack Orion and you’ll be doing fine. The perfect album for a winter day and a joint.
On the heels of last year’s reissue of Michael Chapman’s 1970 classic album Fully Qualified Survivor (LITA 060), comes his 1969 debut Rainmaker (originally released on the seminal Harvest label).
Michael Chapman - Rainmaker Limited Edition Poster
Limited edition poster for our reissue of Michael Chapman’s 1969 debut album on the Harvest label, Rainmaker.
Following Light In The Attic’s acclaimed reissues of British singer, songwriter and hugely talented psych, folk and rock guitarist Michael Chapman’s seminal albums Fully Qualified Survivor and Rainmaker, comes 1971’s Wrecked Again, his final for the EMI’s seminal stoner imprint Harvest.
Playing Guitar The Easy Way
Following on the heels of LITA’s previous Chapman reissues comes an ultra-rarity, 1978’s Playing The Guitar The Easy Way – an instructional record (complete with a 20 page booklet of notation) making its CD debut and reissued on vinyl for the first time ever! For guitar geeks, it’s one of the first instructional methods to deal with open tunings like DADGAD. For Chapman fans, it’s merely a gas to listen to!
Every artist has a piece of work that niggles them—something that they wish they could redo, given the chance. It’s why Paul McCartney once reproduced Let It Be and why Kate Bush re-recorded Wuthering Heights for her best-of album. For the prolific Michael Chapman, that album is Window, the missing link in the series of Chapman’s early albums being reissued by Light In The Attic Records. Window sits just after the previously released Fully Qualified Survivor and Rainmaker, right before Wrecked Again.