'The Words In Between' is an album which was made in very modest circumstances in 1971. It was recorded directly to a Revox tape recorder using just a pair of microphones at a basement flat in Royal York Crescent, Bristol. This was the home of Ian A. Anderson, an aspiring folk singer who went on to become founder of fRoots magazine.
Ian A. Anderson (the 'A' is important) has to constantly assure people that he's not the flute-playing front man of Jethro Tull but he should worry. Dave Evans is the real name of U2's The Edge and the unassuming Welshman is also likely to be confused with the singer who briefly preceded Bon Scott in AC/DC or a bluegrass banjo virtuoso.
His ten track record was released on the independent Village Thing label which Anderson co-founded with Gef Lucena. Like many other LPs originating from the small scale Clifton Village imprint it has since achieved cult status and became much sought after by collectors.
Village Thing released another Evans album in 1972 under the title Elephantasia. Five tracks from that record were added of a 30th anniversary CD reissue of ' The Words In Between' but are not part of the Earth Recordings vinyl reissue which comes complete with new cover art and has a playing time of just 36 minutes.
What makes the record worth re-visiting is that affords the opportunity to marvel at the remarkable fingerpicking style of Evans and to wonder why he is not more popular. It is not an exaggeration to speak of Evans in the same breath as acknowledged masters like Bert Janch and John Renbourn.
You can witness his talent for yourselves in a rare TV appearance Evans made in 1974 on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' which thankfully has been preserved for posterity on You Tube.
His debut record is a recording of just guitar and voice, although Adrienne Webber added harmony vocals and some tracks feature Keith Warmington on harmonica.
The winsomeness of the songs dates them but this is offset by a charming faux innocence. Evans steers away from any negativity towards urban living to sing of "nursery rhymes and ice cream chimes" on City Road and has compassion for a lonely woman named Rosie who was "only very slightly around the bend".
Best of the bunch is the title track; a tender (albeit ambiguous) love song in which he makes no great demands on the object of his affection: "all you've really got to do is be you".
The press release of Earth Recordings doesn't say anything about what became of Evans after this record. Google research shows that he made a couple of other records including the all instrumental Sad Pig Dance (1974) but, needless to say, these didn't trouble the charts and it seems that Evans now earns his living building and repairing instruments in Belgium.
This fame thing is a lottery anyway but this welcome reissue at least ensures that Evans' fine debut will be remembered.
Listen to 'The Words In Between' at Bandcamp