Album Review: A Ghost In Every Bar

Polari Magazine

Marcus Reeves, 24th August 2012


This track is taken from jazz supremo Ian Shaw's latest project A Ghost In Every Bar with composer, pianist and producer Simon Wallace. The album pays tribute to the work of their friend and legendary lyricist Fran Landesman and fulfils Ian's promise to devote an entire album to her songs.

I first met Ian Shaw in New York when I was out there on the Stonewall Equality Walk (and to see Boy George's ill-fated Taboo on Broadway). I've followed his work since and have been lucky enough to perform with him a couple of times at the South Bank Centre. I was drawn to this album as I'd meant to go to see Fran Landesman in concert with Ian and Simon, but didn't make it and sadly she died not long after.

Scars is a regular part of Shaw's encyclopaedic live repertoire and is a perfect example of Fran Landesman's wit and wordplay, where vivid and lucid images can twist from romantic to funny to painful in the space of a few bars. The song captures the fear we all feel about showing our true selves to others, but asks the listener to celebrate their losses and lacks as much as their personal strengths.