A gift for writing hook-laden songs and sensitively interpreting the work of American singer/songwriters has brought Rab Noakes to the forefront of Scottish pop music. His 1970 debut album, Do You See the Lights, included "Together Forever," which became a folk-pop hit for Lindisfarne. Although he agreed to form a band, Steeler's Wheel, with Rafferty, he left the band to resume his solo career before the group recorded their Top Ten hit "Stuck in the Middle With You." Noakes has continued to record on his own.
by Craig Harris
Hearing Rab Noakes' debut LP, Do You See the Light, is a bit like listening to a late-'60s folk-rock recording for the Elektra or Vanguard label that somehow wasn't released. As many contributions as those labels made in this genre, however, a comparison such as this isn't necessarily high praise. For though Noakes at times echoes various early singer/songwriters -- Blonde on Blonde-era Bob Dylan, Donovan, Phil Ochs, Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Tim Buckley, James Taylor, Tom Paxton, The Basement Tapes-era Dylan -- he doesn't project a strong identity of his own, and his material is blander than the '60s work of any of the aforementioned figures.
It's as if the music has been filtered through a lower common denominator of someone with a large collection of U.S. singer/songwriter LPs with a personal narrative flavor, though sung here with a Scottish accent. Sometimes the triggers of specific comparisons are strong: the easygoing country-rock of "Together Forever" - later covered by Lindisfarne recalls Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere," and "East Neuk Misfortune" suggests early Tim Buckley as well as the idiosyncratically mild but glowing electric guitar tone heard on numerous Elektra folk-rock recordings. It's all competently done on an even emotional keel, but doesn't mark the artist as possessing distinguished talent of his own.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Do You See The Lights? - 4:52
2. Song For A Pretty Painter - 5:19
3. On My Own I Built A Bridge - 3:25
4. Without Me, Just With You - 3:10
5. Somewhere To Stay - 3:36
6. Together Forever - 3:15
7. One More, One Less - 2:51
8. East Neuk Misfortune - 4:11
9. A Question Of Travelling - 3:48
10.Too Old To Die - 3:23
11.A Love Story - 3:24
12.Somebody Counts On Me - 4:17
Music and Lyrics by Rab Noakes
*Rab Noakes - Guitar, Vocals
*Ronnie Rae - Bass
*Alan Trajan - Keyboards
*Robin McKidd - Guitar, Harmonica