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Richard Ashcroft

Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1


Nov 24, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After the second breakup of The Verve in 1999 and with the exception of 2008’s reunion album Forth, Richard Ashcroft has spent the past 20 plus years making solo records, the latest of which is this. Officially his sixth solo album, this features reimaginings of Verve classics alongside a handful of solo favorites with (as the title suggests) acoustic backing and strings.

Frankly, whatever one might be tempted to say about a record full of re-recordings that consists of eight of its twelve songs being from 1997’s magnum opus Urban Hymns (The Verve and Ashcroft’s most successful album), these versions are stunning. The takes on Urban Hymns tracks “Sonnet,” “Weeping Willow,” “Lucky Man,” “Space and Time,” and of course, “Bitter Sweet Symphony”—which appropriately opens the album much as it opened Urban Hymns—all stand up next to the album versions. And if that isn’t enough, he has also re-recorded “The Drugs Don’t Work,” “Velvet Morning,” and even “One Day,” thus again making the album feel like an inspired acoustic take on Urban Hymns and a celebration of its legacy (it will turn 25 next year alongside a slew of other important British albums like OK Computer, Portishead, In It for the Money, Blur, and Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, but I digress), perhaps even as a bonus disc to an inevitable new reissue. This hardly diminishes its power, though, since these versions stand up on their own.

Several songs from his first solo albums, especially his solo debut (2000’s UK #1 Alone with Everybody), also get the spotlight here, namely “A Song for the Lovers” and “C’mon Everybody (We’re Making It Now),” with Liam Gallagher on guest vocals on the latter. Fans of Urban Hymns will find much to like here, those more enthused with The Verve’s other three albums might find the collection lacking appeal. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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