Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
In a city that has produced so many voices, so many ideas and whom all of which have added greatly to the cultural importance and passionate stand against conformity and the bland, Ian Prowse certainly stands out as late 20th and early 21st Century hero. His voice and hand on heart declarations has led to many following his footsteps and as he proves time and time every week at his the ever popular Monday Night Club, the voice cannot, nor will ever be, silenced.
For a man who has been part of the music scene, the all-encompassing panoramic view rather than just a select few bands from days which are still rightly venerated and adored, Who Loves Ya Baby? is the musician’s first solo offering…and yet what an offering it is!
With so much having gone in one of the beating hearts of Liverpool’s life in the last few years, to welcome Ian Prowse back is to climb the multitude of steps that lead up to the top of the Liver Building and proclaim loudly across the Mersey, across the Irish sea, to the valleys and mountains of Wales, the Lochs and the independent spirit gathering north of the border and most of all to the suited men and women that sit in judgement on the lives of ordinary people, that Ian Prowse is back doing what he does best and relishing every single moment of it…watch the latter shudder.
Who Loves Ya Baby? is perhaps the most personal of albums in a catalogue of music that resonates through every pore of the city he is so obviously proud to be part of. Why would it not be though, music and added words, the enhanced footnotes are best when the lyrics and sounds mean more than people ever think! Whether it is through songs such as God and Man, the sublime I Did It For Love, the simmering anger and melancholic beauty that is intertwined in the timely Lest We Forget and the rage that boils just underneath the surface in The Murder of Charles Wooton, the album is a reminder that whilst time moves on, the message should never be lost, the anger that drives you, though outside influences may make you smile and cheer, should never be extinguished.
With contributions from his band mates in Amsterdam, especially the subtle piano tones of Mike Neary, the haunting sound of Eimear McGeown, Helen Maher and the great Anna Jenkins on flute, accordion and violin and the superb Johnny Barlow on bass and guitar, Who Loves Ya Baby? is full of flavour, a treat for the ears and above all a sensitive letter of thanks to his fans but one full of grace, a rallying call to the faithful, the dispossessed and the disinherited to keep the passion, flame and fury strong.
Ian D. Hall