I have long been an admirer of the songs that Pete Atkin composed in partnership with lyricist Clive James – in fact it was those songs that convinced me that James was more than the “funny bunch of guys” everybody thought him to be. Most of those songs have been performed by Pete himself, so I’ve always wondered whether or not he was he was capable of interpreting material provided by other writers.
(Pete has said more than once that he had never really intended to be a performer and that if he could have sold the James/Atkin songs to another performer he probably would not have become one.)
Now I have the opportunity of hearing him handle something that his not of his own devising by visiting the composer and accompanist Simon Wallace’s My Space page and listening to A Magician’s Confession which Wallace composed with his regular writing partner, the lyricist and poet Fran Landesman. There is nothing wrong with his performance as far as I’m concerned. Mind you, Landesman/Wallace compositions are not unlike Atkin/James compositions, which might explain why Pete sounds comfortable enough.