Album Review: Fully Qualified Survivor by Michael Chapman
Exceptionally Good, Based on 4 Critics
AllMusic - 100 Based on rating 10/10
After the critical acclaim Michael Chapman received for Rainmaker in 1969, he followed up quickly in early 1970 with Fully Qualified Survivor, a record more adventurous and haunting than its predecessor, with added production flourishes and equally strong songs. Fully Qualified Survivor is the album that established Chapman as a folk troubadour. Leaving the guitar pyrotechnics largely locked in a shed, Chapman concentrated instead on his songwriting skills, and the sacrifice -- for this record anyway -- paid off.
Michael Chapman, according to his bio, rose out of the Cornish folk circuit, which must have been a strange fit. His music surely has a melancholy feel that runs through plenty of traditional Cornish folk songs, but his biting edge and complex compositions must have surely made him an outlier. In fact, Chapman has been an outlier for much of his career, never quite garnering the praise he so deserved.
A comedian friend Louis has a joke about how people travel not to expand their horizons but to confirm their worst stereotypes. Truthfully, few of us are able to interpret complicated experiences as a coherent whole. It’s a skill found in the best art. And maybe the occasional PowerPoint.Michael Chapman demonstrated this gift early on.
Michael Chapman's Fully Qualified Survivor was originally released in 1970 on EMI's Harvest imprint, home to Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and Electric Light Orchestra. Rather than full-blown rock, Chapman's work lies much closer to Harvest's other musical dissidents: Syd Barrett, Roy Wood, Kevin Ayers, and, most notably, Roy Harper. Chapman recorded four albums for Harvest between 1968 and 1972, and Fully Qualified Survivor remains the classic and the best example of the artist.