Saturday, October 3, 2009

Children of the Storm by Paul McNeill

Children of the Storm 1

"Children of the Storm"
Paul McNeill
Private Release

There are some people who really should have been more well-known. Paul McNeill is one of them. A British-born folksinger, Paul was a fixture of the London folk scene in the 60's, with a residency at the famous Troubadour Club, as well as associations and friendships that included Bert Jansch, Sandy Denny, Alex Campbell, Paul Simon, and Linda Thompson. He was one of (if not the) first people to ever record cover versions of Paul Simon songs. With Linda Thompson (nee Peters) he formed a duo that recorded several singles.

McNeill recorded two albums on Decca in the mid 60's, and then left the country and eventually settled in Fribourg, Swizterland, where he lived until his death. He died in Norway in 1989, of cancer. His later years as a busker and street musician in Fribourg provided the material for "Children of the Storm," his third and final album. It was a private release. I'm not sure how many copies were made.

The album showcases a proficient guitarist with a decent voice and strong, clear arrangements. It is the song lyrics, however, that really shine. McNeill's writing is poetic, specific, and compelling. I particularly enjoyed "The Cathedral" and "Cookie," although I wish I knew the stories behind the songs. The title track is rousing and epic. The album ends with "The Air I Breathe" which is joyful and celebratory. A fitting end to a long career. I wish he had been more prolific, because Children of the Storm is a short album, with only 8 tracks, and it leaves you wanting more.

According to the jacket, the album was recorded live. The engineering is not the greatest, McNeill's vocals are sometimes distant and overpowered by the excellent music, and there are several lines that I can't understand at all, which is why I did not type up the lyrics in this case.

Those who knew Paul remember him fondly, and I hope that others will enjoy this album as I have.


  1. Audrey
  2. The Cathedral
  3. Trooper
  4. Children of the Storm
  5. Prelude, Grandads Song
  6. Cookie
  7. Red Eye Blues
  8. The Air I Breathe

Note: This album is no longer available on my blog, but Paul's son, Marco, has created an official web site where you may be able to get it in the future. Anyone interested in "Children of the Storm" should check with him. Thanks!


Cucamonga said...

Thank you very much.

I've liked this record a lot.

js said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mt said...

This is a good album. I've never heard of him before, but thank you for sharing it.

Johnny Desolation said...

Glad you like the album, McNeill's story is an interesting one. I have wanted to write a wikipedia article about him for a long time, but have not had the published sources to do so. Someday! In any case, Children of the Storm is pretty amazing. I'm still looking for his Contemporary Folk album, the one that was on Decca.

Mcneill Marco said...

Désolé, mais les droits d'auteur sont mien, héritié Suisse de ©McNeill...

Tu as violé une loi sur les droits d'auteur. Tu n'es pas autorisé à laisser cette musique en téléchargement libre, sorry.

Quoiqu'il en soit le commentaire est bon...

SUISA said...

We, SUISA, represent Paul McNeill’s heir. On his request, we tell you that you are not authorized to use Paul McNeill’s songs and put those in free download on Internet. As you propose on your blog, we ask you to remove those songs from your Download offer, on your blog or anywhere else.
Thank you in advance


Johnny Desolation said...

Marco has very generously given me permission to continue to provide this album on my blog. Therefore, I will not remove the download link unless he changes his mind. Thank you.

McNeill Marco said...

Now you can see my website:

There is a few songs and articles but in french.

I haven't articles in other linguages.


McNeill Marco said...

Je crains que la Suisa n'est entièrement raison...

Etant donné que je souhaite moi-même promouvoir la musique de mon père mais par un autre moyen, je vous prie d'enlever la distribution gratuite de la musique du disque de Paul McNeill.

En vous remerciant d'avance,


P.S.: En ce qui concerne l'article wikipedia, je vous souhaite tout de bon (par exemple en regardant mon site web)

Johnny Desolation said...

Ok apparently there was a miscommunication between us, I perhaps translated incorrectly. The download link has now been removed.

Anonymous said...

thanks for that!, in centralizing the infos about paul mcneill through his younger son marco we'll help improve the overall searches for him around the web! ;-)
...marco is about to come to my home in a couple of minutes, we're neighbors, and friends - long live the good!