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Pieces of Me

Linda Hoyle

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Album Review

It probably isn't surprising to learn that Hoyle's solo debut, cut following the final dissolution of Affinity in 1971, does not deviate too far from that band's jazz-rock modus operandi. However, in seeking to trim the instrumental fat from Affinity's sometimes gruelling work-outs, and concentrate the attention on the songs (and lyrics) themselves, it rises far above its role model, to showcase Hoyle as a far more exciting figure than her footnotes in history would have you believe.

Reminiscent in places of the best of Julie Driscoll's late 1960s work - a role model that Hoyle was singularly well-placed to succeed - Pieces Of Me likewise borrows from several of Driscoll's own influences. The Nina Simone and Laura Nyro songbooks both contribute to the proceedings, with the latter's "Lonely Woman" standing among the best tracks on the entire album. But Hoyle's own work, largely written in tandem with keyboard player Karl Jenkins, is equally powerful, with the eerie "Hymn To Valerie Solanis" (titled for, but never mentioning the woman who shot Andy Warhol), and the regretful "Journey's End" ranking among the other highlights. The intriguing "Ballad Of Marty Mole", meanwhile, reads like a cross between Bob Dylan and Beatrix Potter, and could well give children nightmares for days.

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