Rab Noakes: The Treatment Tapes EP review – brave, life-affirming set

(Neon Records/Proper)

From his days with Gerry Rafferty in Stealers Wheel to his adventurous 2015 album I’m Walkin’ Here, Rab Noakes has always taken a highly individual approach to song-writing, reflecting his love of Americana, British folk, and pop. When he was diagnosed with tonsillar cancer, and needed radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he responded by writing about the experience. The musical influences here include country and blues, and the sturdy melodies are matched by impressive finger-picking guitar work. But what makes these six songs special are the lyrics. There are bleak autobiographical patches at the start, but then come the cheerfully tuneful Mindful, the defiant That Won’t Stop Me, and Water Is My Friend, a gloriously original politically edged song that is both about hydration and praise for “people looking after me who don’t get paid enough”. A brave and life-affirming set from a performer now thankfully back on tour.


Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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