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NEWSLETTER #127
Folk Music Of The British Isles & Europe
Roy Bailey -> Various Artists

 

 

ENGLAND ROY BAILEY Fuse CFCD 170201 Up the Wooden Hill ● CD $16.98
New album of children's songs.

 
WALES BOYS FROM THE HILL Fflach 243 Boys From The Hill ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 47 mins, highly recommended Terrific new group from Wales. Their repertoire is mostly contemporary and with a angry political edge featuring the powerful lead vocals and guitar of Andy Jones with Chris Piston on bouzouki & cittern and Martin Leamon on accordion, melodeon, bouzouki and guitar. They are joined from time time to time by Kenny McDonald on whistles and Ceri Rhys Matthews on pipes. There are several original songs along with songs by Alisatir Hulett, Pete Seeger, Jock Purdon and others. The performance of Seeger's Bells Of Rhymney with only pipes accompaniment is particularly impressive but it's all good. Though contemporary the group's music is strongly rooted in traditional music (just the way I like it) and they end the album with a splendid treatment of the traditional song Dark Eyed Sailor where Andy is joined by the splendid Julie Murphy. Check 'em out! (FS)

 
IRELAND RONAN BROWNE & PETER O'LOUGHLIN Claddagh CCF 35 Touch Me If You Dare ● CD $17.98
Second Claddagh album by this outstanding duo featuring traditional Irish dance tunes performed by piper and flute player Browne and fiddler and flute player O'Loughlin. Most of the tunes are played as unison duets on pipes and fiddle and the sound is a lovely one. On a few tracks they are joined by Maeve Donnelly on fiddle or viola and three tracks feature piano accompaniment by Geraldine Cotter.

 
ENGLAND ELIZA CARTHY Topic TSCD 539 Anglicana ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 54 mins, essential
Based on this release I think Eliza might very well be the finest interpreter of traditional song in the British Isles today. Her singing reveals a sensitivity and passion that make the songs truly come alive. She complements her singing with some stirring and exquisite fiddle playing and, on one track, shows her skill as a piano player. She is joined by several of Britain's finest young musicians who provide outstanding acoustic accompaniments and backing vocals and there are also appearances by her mum Norma Waterson and dad Martin Carthy. Except one lovely instrumental tune written as a birthday present for her dad the material is all traditional and includes some truly wonderful songs. There are a couple of fairly familiar songs like Just As The Tide Was Flowing and Little Gypsy Girl. The former is a favorite of mine and Eliza's version is worth the price of this album by itself. There are some superb lesser known songs like Worcester City/ Limbo/ Pretty Plougboy and others and one instrumental set of traditional English dance tunes. Quite simply, this album is a masterpiece! (FS)

 
ENGLAND SHIRLEY COLLINS Fledgling NEST 5001 Within Sound ● CD $59.98
Four CDs, 84 tracks, essential
Wonderful four CD box set in tribute to one of England's finest and most important interpreters of traditional songs. Arranged chronologically the 84 tracks range from her very first recording in 1955 to a track recorded in 2002 with the bulk of the set devoted to her wonderful recordings from the 60s and 70s. Though not a technically accomplished singer, her gentle breathy approach brings a convincing sincerity to everything she does. Her repertoire is almost exclusively traditional - mostly English but with occasional forays into Irish, Scottish and American tradition. Over the years Shirley entered into a number of exciting and innovative musical collaborations which resulted in some wonderful music and helped point the direction for many other performers. This included accompaniments by her Sister Dolly on portative organ or piano, by guitarist Davey Graham providing a bluesy, jazz backdrop to Shirley vocals. She was involved in several electric interprations of English folk - usually under the guidance of her then husband Ashley Hutchings and she also did some truly spellbinding performances with accompaniment on renaissance instruments. These and many other facets of her lengthy career are featured on this set which includes many rare and unissued performances including studio outtakes, demos, live performances and more. The 56 page page booklet features extensive notes and comments on all the songs by Shirley herself along with full discographical information and lots of great photos. There's also a fold out poster consisting of one of Pete Frame's great family trees which illustrates Shirley's many involvements with the English folk scene over the years. (FS)

 
SCOTLAND BARBARA DICKSON Phonograph Folk 1001 From The Beggars Mantle ... Fringed With Gold ● CD $19.98
9 tracks, 33 mins, highly recommended A reissue of a 1971 album by a Scottish singer who is best known as a pop singer. This one is a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs with instrumental accompaniments by Archie Fisher (guitar & concertina), Nic Jones (fiddle & guitar) and others. Highlights are the lovely version of Archie's magical traditional traditional flavored Witch Of The Westmorelands, the powerful Recruited Collier and a fine version of Lord Thomas Of Winsbury. The contemporary songs are by Archie Fisher, Alan Taylor (his fine The Morning Lies Heavy On Me) and Alan Hull. (FS)

 
ENGLAND THE EEL GRINDERS Eel 002 Voyage ● CD $22.98
Mostly instrumental album of original compositions by fine quartet of musicians performing on border bagpipes, whistles, trumpet, violin and accordion. Some of it sounds traditional - some is more free form and atmospheric.

 
ENGLAND FAIRPORT CONVENTION Talking Elephant 046 The Airing Cupboard Tapes, '71-'74 ● CD $13.98
13 tracks, very good
More rare Fairport stuff! The material (mostly previously on a cassette only sold at Fairport gigs) features recordings made at live gigs throughout the world between 1971 and '74 featuring two Fairport line ups - both feature the Dave Trio (Swarbrick, Pegg & Mattacks) plus either Simon Nicol or Trevor Lucas & Jerry Donahue with Sandy Denny appearing on several tracks with the latter incarnation. Mostly familiar Fairport material (Hexhamshire Lass/ Sloth/ Walk Awhile/ Who Knows Where The Time Goes, etc.) with a couple of surprises (Sandy doing a couple of 50s rockers - That'll Be The Day and Something You Got and duetting with Trevor on Ballad Of Ned Kelly). Sound quality ranges ffrom excellent to so-so. Nice stuff but nothing outstanding. (FS)

 
SCOTLAND DICK GAUGHAN Greentrax CDTRAX 236D Prentice Piece ● CD $17.98
Two CD retrospective of recordings made by Scotland's greatest folk performer in the past 30 years. Featuring 21 tracks it primarily draws on his three solo Topic albums and three solo Greentrax albums along with tracks drawn from compilations - some making their first appearance on CD. Unfortunately several of Dick's earliest albums as well as his recordings with folk rock band Five Hand Reel are not represented here as the owner of these recordings would not make them available. Nonetheless their are many spellbinding performances here.

 
ENGLAND THE HUSH Mawson & Wareham 054 Dark To The Sky ● CD $22.98
14 tracks, highly recommended. Fabulous new group featuring the tremendous lead vocals of Bob Fox. They perform 14 songs of Northumbria - quite a few dealing with mining. Songs are a mix of traditional and songs written by famed local writers like Johnny Handle, Joe Wilson and Tommy Armstrong. There are some familiar titles like Here's The Tender/ The Snow It Melts The Soonest, etc) and a lot of obscure but wonderful songs like Jack Crawford/ Going To The Mine/ The Row In The Gutter, etc. Arrangements are exceptional using electric, acoustic & slide guitars, bouzouki, saxophones, keybaords, bass, drums and percussion - creative and contemporary but not interfering with the thrust of the song. A real winner. (FS)

 
IRELAND PAT KILBRIDE Temple COMD 2089 Nightingale Lane ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, recommended
New album from fine singer and multi-instrumentalist. Kilbride started his career with the Battlefield Band and after a length solo career has recently rejoined the group. There are 8 instrumental sets and four songs - a mix of traditional and contemporary. Kilbride is a fine singer though his choice of songs is fairly bland. His instrumental work on guitar and cittern is splendid and he is joined by various different musicians including his fellow Battlefield Band mates. (FS)

 
IRELAND SEAN MCCARTHY EMI ISRMCD 009 The Wandering Man ● CD $17.98

 
IRELAND CHRISTY MOORE Columbia 508635.2 Live at Vicar Street ● CD $19.98
One of Ireland's finest singers recorded at one of his now rare live performances at Vicar Street in Dublin in December 2001. Christy is accompanied by Declan Sinnott/ guitars and Donal Lunny/ guitar, keyboards & bodhran. Includes Continental Ceilidh/ First Time Ever I Saw Your Face/ Quiet Desperation, January Man/ Johnny Don't Go/ Lisdoonvarna, etc.

 
IRELAND LASAIRFTHIONA NI CHONAOLA Lasaifthiona 001 An Raicin Alainn ● CD $17.98
14 tracks, highly recommended
In case you were wondering her name is pronounced Lah-sah-reena Nee Can-ee-luh. She is a lovely singer with that wispy, breathy style which is very popular these days. This album features unfamiliar traditional songs, some original compositions and the writing of Aran writer Dara O Conaola. All the songs are sung in Gaelic - some are unaccompanied but many have discreet accompaniments by top notch Irish musicians like Maire Breatnach, Mary Bergin, Johnny McDonough and others. One song features the excellent singing of her brother MacDara. A very worthwhile debut. (FS)

 
ENGLAND DAVE SHEPHERD & BECKY PRICE Beautiful Jo 36 Ashburnham ● CD $18.98
15 tracks, 56 mins, highly recommended Lovely all instrumental album featuring mostly traditional English tunes along with a few originals. Both performers have been active on the British folk scene for quite a while - Shepherd having spent some time as a member of Blowzabella. He plays fiddle and Price is featured on piano accordion and piano and the rapport between the two of them is exceptional. The tunes they play are wonderfully appealing and melodic and although I generally prefer some vocals the music here is so enchanting that I don't miss them. (FS)

 
IRELAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Doolin Point 000 Best of Divers' Nights 1992-1999 ● CD $17.98
Fine set of mostly traditional instrumental music recorded live at a series of charity concerts presented by the Burren Sub Aqua Club in Ennistymon and Liscannor between 1992 and 1999. Artists featured include Martin hayes & Pat Marsh, Tommy Peoples, Matt Molloy, Kate Purcell (one of the few vocals here), Jackie Daly, Chris Droney & George Byrt, Gerry O'Connor & Kevin O'Doherty and others. Sound quality for a live recording is excellent.

 
ENGLAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Fellside FTSR 4 The Bold Navigators ● CD $14.98
Delightful collection of songs about Britain's inland waterway system - the canals. It features Jon Raven, John Kirkpatrick, Sue Harris, Gary & Vera Aspey, Brian Peters and Ian Woods. It's mostly a reissue of a 1974 LP of the same name issued on the Traditional Sounds label with some bonus songs recorded in the 80s on the same subject. Includes Come Now Begin Delving/ The Bold Navigators/ Leeds - A Seaport Town/ Manchester Ship Canal/ Birmingham Lads/ The Captains Of The Waterways/ Keep Yer 'And Off/ Poor Old Horse and others.

 
 

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