UK folk and Americana latest news from folking.com

Kate Rusby – Little Lights

Kate Rusby - Little LightsIt’s great to welcome back to the fold a bona fide British artist. In Kate Rusby, we have a treasure we need to grasp like a dying breath. With only the merest hint of Celtic undertones, some may feel this is over dramatic, but just check out the album for yourselves and you’ll see what I mean.

Kate not only sings traditional English songs, she writes them too! Innovation comes in many guises and here she pens lyrics in a style that would do justice to MacColl or Lloyd.

‘Playing Of Ball’ nestles comfortably alongside her own ‘I Courted A Sailor’ aided and abetted by a rather tasty guitar accompaniment from Ian Carr and the twin whistles and tenor banjo (!) of Michael McGoldrick.

John McCusker, once again at the helm as producer brings to bear a multitude of the folk Mafia for a sparkling album full of gems.

Original Posting date – 6-June-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

The Easy Club – The Easy Club

The Easy ClubOpening with the now familiar strains on single string note into the glorious title track this band was, in its day (1984 actually) to prove one of the most innovative and original setting the standard for what was to follow in its wake. Possibly not the first group of artists to successfully meld folk with jazz, the Easy Club did however break new ground in say much the same way as Ireland’s Bothy Band. Featuring the talents of Jim Sutherland on mandolin, cittern and percussion, the fiddle of John Martin, Jack Evans on guitar and harmonica and the astonishing vocal talents of Rod Paterson this debut album proved a veritable gold mine for the aspiring folk musician.

Of course, Sutherland’s ‘Easy Club Reel’ has become a featured track in many bands’ repertoires but it was not only in the instrumentals that the band reigned supreme. By the second track – a truly inspirational re-working of MacColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town’ – with Paterson at the helm proved beyond doubt that here was something special.

Original Posting date – 4-June-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis – Legacy Of The Scottish Fiddle Volume One

Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - Legacy Of The Scottish Fiddle Volume OneThroughout the years, tastes change and, if like mine yours has mellowed, you will find nostalgia is no bad thing particularly when it is performed with such a love and understanding for the music.

In the hands of Alisdair Fraser on fiddle and the faultless accompaniment of Paul Machlis on piano with occasional contributions from Natalie Haas cello and Todd Phillips Scottish tunes could not be in safer hands. What self-respecting Scottish fiddle album would be complete without a Scott Skinner composition or two but the research goes further including the glorious ‘Earl Grey’ by James Hill and the little known (to me at least) Charles Grant.

Another thing I didn’t know was that the well loved tune ‘The Fairy Dance’ – here given its proper title ‘Largo’s Fairy Dance’ was written by Neil Gow – and all the while I assumed it was traditional. For the musician looking for some good tunes or for those who enjoy their music honestly performed (I hope that doesn’t sound too pompous?) this is the album is for you.

Original Posting date – 4-June-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Maddy Prior – Arthur The King

Maddy Prior - Arthur The KingThe opening intro of Maddy’s latest CD brings to mind Clannad’s ‘Robin The Hooded Man’ with the Uilleann pipes set-up by Troy Donockley.

Now sitting so comfortably with her accompanying musicians including Nick Holland’s solid and imaginative keyboards, Terl Bryant on drums and percussion and the aforementioned Mr Donockley utilising his multi-instrumental skills on electric and acoustic guitars, whistles and cittern.

A lot of the ambient sounds on the ‘Arthur’ suite are created by the various keyboard washes but the cittern with its jangly (almost bell like quality) fits particularly well. On ‘Tribal Warriors’, the drone of the electric guitar’s crashing chord works dramatically with the driving percussion and features Maddy at her spitting best.

The traditionalists among you will be pleased to hear that she also includes classic renderings of ‘Rynardine’ and ‘Lark in the Morning’ for good measure. For those that thought Maddy had lost the plot leaving Steeleye, do yourselves a favour and buy this album – you won’t be disappointed!

Original Posting date – 4-June-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Ralph McTell – Right Side Up

Ralph McTell - Right Side UpHere’s another superb offering to swell the ever-extending Ralph McTell back catalogue. His songs fit so comfortably – like a well-settled pair of slippers.

‘Naomi’, ‘Tequila Sunset’, ‘Weather The Storm’ and his cover of John Martyn’s ‘May You Never’ are all here. It brings a smile to my face just listening to how well structured the arrangements were.

Nothing too cluttered, from the simple guitar picking and backing vocals on ‘Weather…’ to the beautiful vibraphone, sleazy saxophone and wonderful Danny Thompson on double bass accompaniment on the smokey ‘River Rising Moon High’. Possibly the best known track ‘From Clare To Here’ surprises with the line ‘…perhaps I hear a fiddler play…’ for instead of the fiddle (as you’d expect) recorders are used.

A nice touch as fiddle is utilised throughout the rest of the track performed by Graham Preskett. For the completists among you there is the addition of ‘Song for Ireland’ originally recorded for his Irish audience. As I said, classic McTell.

Original Posting date – 4-June-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Ralph McTell – Red Sky

Ralph McTell Red SkyThe wind whips and moves the stale air from those who only remember “Streets of London” as “Red Sky” dawns into a fresh collection of 19 new songs.

Here are a few examples to whet your appetite: “Up” a strong song with a catchy chorus, steady pace and meandering guitar solo – “Dreamtime” a soft timeless ballad – “Wagon on the Motorway”, a reflective travelling song – “Bicker and Rue”, Dylanesque in delivery with lyrics that most people will relate to – “Lost Boys” an upbeat number with a feisty fiddle piece which contrasts beautifully with the slower ballads of “Now This Has Started” and “Easter Lilies” – “Icarus Survived”, a calypso structured lighthearted look at attitude – “Raining in My Heart” fits well with the slower mellow Delta Blues of “When Love Has Gone” – The lyrical excellence of “Let Me Fly or Let Me Fall” and the nostalgic flashback of “Fin” – All reinforce why Ralph Mctell is one of the finest exports of the UK.

Original Posting date – 1-June-2001

Reviewers Name – The folkmaster – folkmaster@folking.com

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.