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Sherwood Business Centre, Mansfield Road
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18th May 2017 at the Poppy and Pint for the Nottingham Post

It's questionable whether many Notts folk under the age of 50 have heard of Dean Friedman. The American songster released four songs of note in 1977 and 1978 but has since been absent from the singles charts. He has, however, continued to write and release albums and is once again touring venues across the UK , including a welcome return to Notts pub the Poppy and Pint.

 

There's obviously a deep affection for Mr Friedman in Nottingham, with the venue packed to capacity. The set was simple – just the man, a keyboard, a guitar and that voice with the distinctive New York tones that thankfully has not diminished with time, particularly as Ariel has some pretty high notes.

Friedman's music is pared back and mellow, cleverly drawing on his 61 years to share his often humorous life experiences. From the laugh-out-loud 'I'm Not Sorry To See You Go', to the equally amusing 'Death to the Neighbours', the songs are emotive, entertaining and relatable.

Mixing old songs with more recent material, his relaxed performance style and rapport with the audience was endearing and very successfully added to the intimate nature of the gig.

Interspersing songs with anecdotes, including admitting how he stole McCartney's tune for 'Blackbird' but 'with humility', this evening was part gig, part 'this was my life'.

It's difficult to understand why he has not enjoyed more commercial success.

Hearing Friedman belting out 'Lydia' was a definite highlight (he can still nail those top notes) but by far the favourite song of the evening was his biggest hit 'Lucky Stars', which he saved until the end, rounding things off nicely with some very impressive audience participation.