Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Live | 25 October 1986

The Shaw Theatre, London

"My name is Peter Case." It's as good a start as any.

The man talking is modelling a dark suit and large spectacles, which are perched far enough away from his eyes to encourage him to dip his head and peer over the top. Pivotting from the knees, he strums and picks at a guitar. A line of harmonicas placed on a stool are disturbed countless times. He sings and two musicians assist, a bassist with the gentle touch and a percussion player.

The singer's voice rattles around his throat as he allows the privileged into a world crawling with colour and vitality. Here can be found the dusty road blues of "Matchbox", an on-the-run drama in "Small Town Spree", a bosom buddy in "My Trusted Friend". Here too is "Satellite Beach". They are songs that slap the face and tickle the heart, urgent and demanding musical poetry. If there's such a thing as acoustic soul, then this is it.

He mumbles between numbers, forgetting the need to be close to the microphone, and is prone to exaggeration. Introducing "Walk In The Woods", he explains that it is about leaving his home town of Buffalo. A strangled cheer erupts. Apparently, if a gig's not going so well, it's a good way of provoking a reaction. There'll always be somebody in the audience who has moved out of Buffalo. Only five people live there now.

When this man goes through Customs, it wouldn't be totally reprehensible if he were to steal the words of Oscar Wilde. He has nothing to declare but his genius. His name is Peter Case.

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