This month saw both the reissue of Michael Chapman’s cult favorite Fully Qualified Survivor (via Light In The Attic) and Trainsong: Guitar Compostions 1967-2010 (via Tompkins Square). We are giving away copies of both records (vinyl and CD) to AD readers. To enter, leave a comment below with your name, and a valid email address in the address field (it will not be visible to the public). Winners chosen at random and notified next Friday. If you’re not familiar with Chapman, below is what we said last month per the Fully Qualified Survivor reissue.

Michael Chapman, apart from being a prolific English songwriter whose revered work spans four decades, is probably the best guitar smith you have never heard. While his skills are best evidenced on this album’s predecessor, Rainmaker, the original songwriting and tight production, seemingly informed by all music that came before it, steal the show here.

It’s as if every style of rock music were somehow harnessed and tamed into Michael’s unique folk vision. The album sounds fresh as anything recorded today, yet still of its time, sparkling with punchy drum fills and orchestral arrangements. The album opens with an understated triumph: experimental strings create a soundscape for the soothing rhythm of “Aviator” to “take my time away.” I cannot think of another 9 minute song that doesn’t seem to last long enough. The lyrics on the album evoke a feeling of hopelessness, and there is a kind of sad tone but all together I believe it can be an uplifting album. This may be thanks to sharing much of the same personnel responsible for early albums by Elton John and David Bowie. During Fully Qualified’s hardest moments, though, I hear a striking resemblance to Bowie’s classic Man Who Sold The World.

“Stranger In The Room” and “Soulful Lady” lend a classic rock balance to softer songs like the immortal “Postcards From Scarborough“, by far the most famous Chapman song. Through several interludes, we are treated to Chapman’s masterful six-string suites. I know my fair share of fingerpicking but still have trouble believing that “Naked Ladies & Electric Ragtime” is actually performed on one guitar by one person. In any case, it’s a piece that should be standard fare in guitar workshops the world over. But note that I’m not talking about the electric guitar leads, performed by Mick Ronson who would later team up with Bowie, for Space Oddity, thanks to this record.

In short, Fully Qualified Survivor is an exceptional collection of songs and your best introduction to one of England’s great underappreciated artists. words/ j. nardelli

MP3: Michael Chapman :: Andru’s Easy Rider/Trinkets & Rings

78 Responses to “Michael Chapman :: Fully Qualified Survivor/Trainsong”

  1. Would love to spin these, they sound spectacular.

  2. Light in the Attic makes the world a better place…

  3. Dig! Ialso wish to be entered for a chance at the vinyl copy. Thanks LITA and AD!

  4. This sound fantastic – fingers crossed.

  5. The man is a genius and his playing is still breathtaking 41 years on. This is without a doubt one of the finest albums I have ever heard – brimming with classics. If this is your first listen to MC then prepare to be amazed and to have a melted credit card as you’ve 40 years of sublime unique albums to catch up on. Hoping that Light In The Attic carry on through Michaels other Harvest albums and other guitar classics from 70s 80s 90s and beyond.

  6. There is a mass of information in Michael’s web site plus a complete discography and links to the many musicians Michael has played with and influenced. Go to

    Go to www, if you would like to enquire about Michael’s live shows and availability. He starts touring in the United Kingdom on March 5th and continues via France, The USA, Austria and England until October 2011


  7. “Fully Qualified Survivor” is a masterpiece. This was the first of his albums that I bought, after hearing him on the John Peel show, four decades ago. In the past 12 years, I’ve become a devotee of Michael’s work and have collected 38 CDs and seen him live over 50 times (he’s that good!). As well as being, in my opinion, the greatest living acoustic guitarist, he’s also built up a fine repertoire of new songs in the past two decades. I’m so looking forward to “Trainsongs” & the FQS re-master!

  8. I’m excited about the contest – but more excited about the re-release of Fully Qualified!

  9. Eagerly anticipated this release for a whole now but insufficient funds are holding me back from acquiring it! Got my fingers crossed.

  10. Mike Chapman giveaway! For the poor struggling listener of poor struggling artists!

  11. Sounds cool!

  12. Woah this is great. Thank you for the introduction AD

  13. Simply stated: Incredible.

  14. I’ve never heard of Chapman, but being on LitA is enough to make me know I want it!

  15. gotta pick this up

  16. Sounds like something I will need to purchase if I’m not lucky enough to be selected for the freebee!

  17. This beautiful music by an artist I had never heard of before. Thank you for making him better known!

  18. Quite the discovery, you’d think with I find on AD almost daily I’d be getting tired of new music.


  19. this is great!

  20. Thanks for all the great tunes!

  21. Yes please!

  22. …and all I have to do is leave a comment here? I’ve been trying to find a copy of ‘Fully Qualified Survivor’ for ages, and this new reissue makes my acquisition inevitable, whether it happens on your auspices or my own. Thanks for hipping me to this great news.

  23. (Please disregard the flawed e-mail address in my previous comment. This one is better.)

  24. I look forward to hearing more. Love Mick Ronson, both as a sideman and as a band leader in his own right.

  25. Nice!

  26. Great song..wish i could get a copy

  27. nice stuff.

  28. Please, please…… let it be me!

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