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Fully Qualified Survivor

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 22, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally re-mastered edition of the British Folk singer/songwriter's 1970 album. For those unfamiliar with Chapman's work, Roy Harper might be his closest musical cousin (and both artists were signed to EMI's seminal stoner record label Harvest also home to Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett). Like other Harvest artists, Chapman's music contains a slightly drugged out feel, sublime guitar playing and intense lyrics. Chapman recorded 4 albums for Harvest between 1968 and 1972, of which 1970's Fully Qualified Survivor is hands down considered the classic amongst the whole highly coveted bunch. What makes Fully Qualified Survivor such a special album (besides being a vehicle for a young Mick Ronson's mind-blowing guitar heroics) are the layers of beautiful acoustic guitars, deranged vocals, floating conga drums, and the cello of one Paul Buckmaster the same man who provided the intense strings on Elton John's dark masterpiece Mad Man Across the Water.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Aviator
  2. Naked Ladies and Electric Ragtime
  3. Stranger in the Room
  4. Postcards of Scarborough
  5. Fishbeard Sunset
  6. Soulful Lady
  7. Rabbit Hills
  8. March Rain
  9. Kodak Ghosts
  10. Andru's Easy Rider
  11. Trinkets and Rings


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Light in the Attic
  • ASIN: B004HIQWU8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,844 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Michael Chapman Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE '2011' CD REISSUE ***

Seventies Rock aficionados will no doubt have read gushing reviews before telling them to invest their hard-earned wonga in 'long lost classics' - and having been burned a few times before - would view another such review with a certain amount of scepticism. But this is a 'Light In The Attic Records' release and after 60 peerless reissues of obscurities that truly deserve reappraisal - LITA have done it again. Beautiful presentation, extraordinary sound quality and songs that beggar the question - how the hell did this little gem get 'lost' in the first place?

Michael Chapman hails from Leeds in England and was 28 when he recorded his second LP "Fully Qualified Survivor" for EMI's progressive label imprint 'Harvest'. His debut album "Rainmaker" issued in July 1969 was only Harvest's 5th LP at that time and signalled the arrival of a major guitar player and Rock singer-songwriter.

"Fully Qualified Survivor" was released March 1970 on Harvest SHVL 764 in the UK and Capitol/Harvest SW-816 in the USA - and even though it actually charted in the UK at 45, it's a rare record on vinyl and UK originals can command upwards of £100. This February 2011 reissue on Light In The Records LITA 060 is a straightforward transfer of that 1970 album remastered from the 1st generation EMI tapes by NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering in London (46:32 minutes). The sound quality is FABULOUS - clear, warm and full of presence and fully realizes the original quality production values of GUS DUDGEON (of David Bowie and Elton John fame).
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1 Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
You would think that by the 1970's the music industry would be fairly efficient, in the sense that every spectacularly-talented musician could be heard by everyone who would recognise his/her talent for what it was.
Not so, and Michael Chapman is the proof. Oh sure, his voice is a little styled, when the fashion at the time was for "completely natural" voices like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor et al. News for you, kiddies: Michael Chapman was just a tiny little bit more styled than those paragons of naturalness.
Also incomprehensible is how his unique guitar work slipped under the radar: he owns an entire branch of the Tree Of What Can Be Done With The Guitar, and it is all on display on this album. There isn't a dud track anywhere, but the 4-song sequence that starts with "Rabbit Hills," is a 15-minute arc of pure guitar/vocal beauty.
And when he decides to rock, he rocks. Bringing in Mick Ronson was a touch of genius, because most of the album is quiet, but then the two of them go at it...
Definitely one of the top ten albums of the 1970's. Just a mystery that it is so unknown.
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Format: Audio CD
Unquestionably Chapman's finest hour; in "Fully Qualified Survivor" he reached a peak of brilliant musicianship and starkly harrowing imagery. Evocative lyrics,vocals which grip you by the throat, guitar style ranging from nimble to beefy and restrained string arrangements make this a sadly overlooked British contemporary folk classic on a par with Nick Drake's "Bryter Layter". Highly recommended - worth getting for "Kodak Ghosts" and the title track alone.
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Format: Audio CD
Every time I manage to mention the name Michael Chapman to somebody, they invariably don't recognize him nor do they know of his music. Yet, Michael Chapman is an artist whose music deeply affects me, and his album Fully Qualified Survivor is undoubtedly one of my favorite albums to listen to through and through.

The songs are all strung together perfectly, the orchestration is spectacular throughout, and Michael Chapman's mature vocals give the entire album a feeling of mastery. The instrument work is flawless to my ears. Every song is a memorable one here, from beginning to end.

Aviator is epic; Naked Ladies & Electric Ragtime rollicking; Stranger in the Room lyrically and musically admirable; Postcards From Scarborough touching and brooding; Fishbeard Sunset and Soulful Lady are rocking; Rabbit Hills is emotional, touching and beautiful; March Rain enchanting; Kodak Ghosts classic; Andru's Easy Rider technically amazing; and Trinkets and Rings the perfect song to ride away on.

I honestly can not comprehend why this album is so unknown, however it does always seem that the truly great things in this world are enjoyed by so few. May you be one of those few.
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Format: Audio CD
Ace guitarist Chapman growls his way through his strongest collection of songs here..."Postcards of Scarborough", "Kodak Ghosts" and "Rabbit Hills" are etched deep with lonliness and regret; "Stranger in the Room" and "Soulful Lady" are tougher rock pieces with killer guitar from future Spider Mick Ronson (Rick Kemp is in there on bass), while the opening "Aviator" is a doomy masterpiece with fine orchestration by Paul Buckmaster. You also get a couple of nimble ragtime guitar tunes to lighten the tone. All of Michael Chapman's albums are good - this one is superb.
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