David Wiffen’s eponymous masterpiece

Wiffen_1Have you heard of David Wiffen? If not, you’re missing out on quite possibly the greatest country/folk singer ever. David Wiffen, once part of Canadian folkies, 3’s a Crowd, went solo, and happened to create two of the greatest long players ever recorded. No joke. Why this man isn’t a superstar, name dropped by all is a travesty and a mystery. ‘Coast to Coast Fever’, an incredible body of work gets the plaudits, but it’s his eponymous LP that this writer calls his favourite ever album made by anyone ever.

David Wiffen is difficult to pin down. He flits between styles with ease, and somehow makes everything he touches gold. His voice, a mixture of Fred Neil, Johnny Cash, Tim Buckley and, well, something uniquely his, can spit, croon, lilt and belt out snappy honky tonk tunes that floor any listener.

The first track from ‘David Wiffen‘ is nothing short of sensational. ‘One Step’ kicks procedings off with the wonderfully evocative line of "Well it just takes one step to start a journey, no matter how far you may go..", all backed by delicate picked guitar, woozy brass and aching orchestrations. Wiffen’s baritone throughout the song is impressive enough to melt the toughest, hardest hearts. And the album isn’t over by a long shot.

The album is largely a folk/country affair, with song after song of barely comprehensible brilliance. ‘Mr Wiffen’ and ‘I’ve Got My Ticket’ eclipse and shatter the sun so worshipped by Gram Parsons. Wiffen somehow takes country and folk, and glides them together to make the most beautiful singer/songwriter sound ever cut. You like Harvest? Wiffen wipes the floor with it. The single from the LP, ‘Drivin’ Wheel’ is a life affirming piece of country rock, with swathes of Hammond organ, soaring psyche guitar and of course, David Wiffen’s effortless skill and guile. His wordplay and ear for a killer melody is nothing short of breath-taking.

No home should be without this album. It sits at the top of my pile, and always will. Maybe David Wiffen’s talent was to rare to ever live for long? Maybe it shone to bright and burned away? No matter, the first LP is one to savour, buy it now. You cannot live without it.[Mof Gimmers]

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2 Responses to “David Wiffen’s eponymous masterpiece”

  1. George Peacock Says:

    What? no comments on David Wiffen? Thanks for reminding us about his genius. “Coast to Coast Fever” was on my turntable when I found Popjunkie – now I’ll just have to send for the rest.

  2. bruce Says:

    I have one David Wiffen album. ” Coast to coast fever” I don’t even know if this man is still alive, but I will tell you straight up, every track is great. How did I hear about him? Tom Rush in the seventies did a cover of his called Driving Wheel, then Roger McGuinn did his version of the same song. I found Wiffen’s album in a bargain basement bin and found a treasure. I just had it transferred to a cd. 30 years later it still holds up. Must be the Canadian air. Canada consistently produces the finest singer/songwriters. That’s it.

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