Reviews

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Welcome to the folking.com review section.

The folking review team is a small, dedicated group of people with a passion and a commitment for the folk, acoustic and Americana music scene. They review the latest releases, each in their own inimitable style…

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ASHLEY HUTCHINGS & KEN NICOL – Copper, Russet And Gold (Park Records PRKCD109)

Ashley Hutchings proves a fine songwriter on the strength of this recording and opening with “I Am Prologue” there’s a sense of pomp in the lyrics that suits the image hinted at on the superbly subtle cover of the CD booklet. Not one to rest on his laurels Ken Nicol, ...
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ALTAN – 25th Anniversary Celebration (IRL044)

Is it really 25 years ago that I first saw Altan performing in Hastings at a hastily put together gig in the non too salubrious setting of the local Catholic hall? I do remember fondly though the rapturous applause from an astonished packed audience. Of course, since then the band ...
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JEZ LOWE – Folksong Club, Croydon 08.02.10

To fans of folk music everywhere the name Jez Lowe is enough to conjure images of a great night out. As well as his finely crafted songs he is a consummate professional when it comes to musicianship and entertainment. His confidence motivates the audience to join in the songs…even if ...
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BEGGARS’ HILL – Beggars’ Hill (Talking Elephant Records TECD156)

Well, here’s a blast from the past…at least my past. Beggars’ Hill were a ‘collective’ from the Surrey area who, for a labour of love with that music we so endearingly call ‘folk’ recorded a selection of songs for their posterity and ours. The ‘band’ were around at the same ...
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Celtic Connections reviews by Pauline Keightley

Fyfe Dangerfield ABC Glasgow Celtic Connections 20th January 2010... Dangerfield stormed the ABC Glasgow as part of the Celtic connections festival with his latest solo album 'Yellow Moon'. He is a vibrant, energetic and expressive performer, who brought the audience with him with fun and interactive chat. This is an ...
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MICHAEL McGOLDRICK – Aurora (Vertical Records VERTCD090)

There’s always a sense of anticipation when you hear news that one of your favourite musicians has just released a new album and of course, I just had to obtain a copy of this latest offering from Michael McGoldrick. Also, it is highly unlikely that you will be disappointed as ...
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KATHRYN TICKELL – The Best Of Kathryn Tickell (Park Records PRKCD107)

I was first introduced to the wonderful sound of Northumbrian Smallpipes on hearing a recording by the High Level Ranters over thirty years ago. Colin Ross and particularly Alistair Anderson were both influential in helping broaden my audio tastes and that continues to this day with the prodigious talents of ...
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DUOTONE – Work Harder & One Day You’ll Find Her (Garrett Brown Music GBMCD 003)

This album reminds me of my youth when I was listening to the likes of Clifford T Ward and Al Stewart. As a journalist it’s a labour of love digging for information and piecing it together courtesy of the www and that’s what I had to do in the case ...
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IMAGINED VILLAGE – Empire & Love (ECC Records ECC002)

To the opening strains of Sheema Mukerjhee’s sitar joined by Mr Carthy’s trademark guitar the Imagined Village cross fertilisation of different cultures continues apace with a clever re-interpretation of the ballad “My Son John” utilising a more chilling, modern ‘take’ on the song’s powerful anti-war stance. Building to a suitably ...
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ALAN HULL – Live At Clifton Poly 1975 (Market Square Music MSMCD152)

In the days when I was a ‘yoof’ I was forever popping out to support artists such as Lindisfarne and their lead protagonist Alan Hull. So, it’s nice to see a recording of those bygone days appearing in the form of this release from those marvellous chaps at Market Square ...
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POOZIES – Yellow Like Sunshine (Greentrax Records CDTRAX 342)

Opening with a standard ‘blues’ riff, you feel as if you’re into conventional music pigeon-holeing until that is the introduction of Camac harp that adds such a deep, resonant texture it makes you think “wow”… this is really different! It’s that unusual texture and presentation layered by the evocative, almost ...
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ABBIE LATHE & THE LOVELIES – Stargazing (Curlew Records CD001)

I’ve been enraptured by the sounds of tight, close harmonies since I first saw Steeleye Span many years ago and there are plenty featured on this album. Abbie Lathe the engaging front-person of The Lovelies along with the other members of the group Claudia Gibson (piano), Colin Fletcher (acoustic bass ...
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KIMBER’S MEN IN PORT Album Review by Pete Fyfe

Kimber’s Men are something a little extra special…a shanty crew that everyone can enjoy! Consisting Joe Stead, Neil Kimber, Dave Buckley, Gareth Scott and John Bromley the ‘Men’ all have fine voices each as good as each other and then there’s that resonant bass ringing masterfully at the end of ...
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Tom Napper & Tom Bliss – The Kelping

I had the utter delight of seeing this duo play at the Ho at Anchor, in Leigh-on-Sea and they wove magic for me that night. The magic was in the stories that they told before and during playing. It made me listen harder and instilled a greater understanding of the ...
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Celtus Reflections and Echoes

This was the place where Celtus fans shared their stories,  gigs they attended and the Celtus music they loved. It was also the place where they put their questions to John or Pat McManus. If you would like to have any of your other Celtus stories shared on this page then email me ...
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Celtus Live 2000 (Evangeline GEL4020)

The fourth album from Celtus featuring all live tracks with 2 Bonus Tracks. A must have. Starting with Navigator at full belt in front of an audience. Into The Pilgrim slow, soulful and the audience quiet and listening intently. We have Wide Awake next to make sure “we are not ...
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Celtus Rooted (Shamrock Records 001)

A traditional album, again different, but stunning in its own right. Irish Folk/Celtus at its best in a traditional form. Rooted brings out whistles, bouzoukis, reels and jigs in abundance. First track is Heart and Hand, slow then into an up-tempo classic foot-tapper. Next we have Voyage, an Instrumental with a beat ...
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Celtus Portrait (Sony 494710 2)

This is the second Celtus album from the incredible McManus Brothers. The opening track Two Worlds, is an up-tempo, love song then leads into Wide Awake, a track telling of a stifled person in love with someone else. Touch You tells of love gone stale. Harmonies and stunning whistle playing from John ...
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Jamie Marshall – Here After

Jamie Marshall - a new shining light in acoustic music releases his latest album 'Here After' - an album mixed by the legendary John Wood. The opening track 'She is in me' straight away sets the pace and feel of the album which left me with a high expectations. I was not disappointed - Jamie’s voice resonates an earth-like quality ...
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Darryl Purpose – Travelers’ Code

Travelers' Code, Darryl's third CD, is as colourful as the man himself. Darryl was once recognized as the World's top blackjack player and is an avid peace activist. Darryl's peace march took him across the U.S and on to Russia which culminated in the first-ever, outdoor stadium rock concert in ...
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Sheila Nicholls – Brief Strop

Sheila Nicholls début album Brief Strop has classic written all over it. Her voice contains a primal emotion that makes you instantly connect with the music. Well thought out lyrics seduce and woo your senses as you're taken on a journey though the light and darker sides of human nature ...
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LUNASA – The Merry Sisters Of Fate

A nice opening set-up from Donogh Hennessy's driving rhythmic guitar settles comfortably in to the jig 'Aoibhneas Eilis Ni Cheallaigh' with Kevin Crawford's flute and Sean Smyth's fiddle taking up the lead lines. The rather nifty segue from the second tune 'Jimmy Ward's' into the closing 'Not Safe with A ...
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Bob Fox – Dreams Never Leave You

Bob Fox's latest album "Dreams Never Leave You" is like an old friend. "The Road to the North" welcomes you in and leads very nicely into "The White Cockade". The album is very well constructed and every track seems to fit well with the next, like Ewan MacColl's "Champion at ...
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Bluehorses – Dragons Milk and Coal

This album bays loudly and stampedes the listener with a sound that has been created by the fusion of a classic Rock technique thrust into a delicate layer of traditional folk. Liz Prendergast's vibrant electric fiddle and gritty vocal control works beautifully on tracks like "Rabbit in the Headlights" and ...
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Shave the Monkey – Good Luck Mr Gorsky

Original folking posting date - 17-May-2001 When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement but followed it by several remarks, whilst communicating between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control ...
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Ashley Hutchings – An Hour With Cecil Sharp

Not exactly an hour but who's counting? Bearing in mind the current debate on the nature of Englishness, this is a timely and welcome re-issue of the 1986 vinyl album that followed up Ashley's successful show, "An Evening with Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings". Part entertainment and part documentary, it ...
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Flook – Flatfish

Orginal folking.com Posting date - 17-May-2001 Flook are like a well-oiled machine, with the many parts working in harmonious precision. Driving the sound is the flute interplay of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, supported by the deft rhythm section of guitar and bodhran. 'Flatfish' is full of vitality and energy, ...
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Martyn Joseph – Far from Silent

"Far from Silent" is about real life, people and experiences. When you listen to the words behind the songs you begin to understand the depth to Martyn’s world. Like the destruction of communities, cultures and traditions portrayed in the song "All in the Past" or the irony and false obsession in the ...
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Celtus – What goes Around

“What goes Around” builds a new refined pyramid of sound, vocal and spirit. John and Pat McManus are at the heart of this new structure, which is held together with the strongest set of songs to date, heavenly harmonies and exciting new concepts. Track Analysis: “What Goes Around”, Eastern Techno-folk flavour with ...
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Gjallarhorn – Sjofn

Gjallarhorn's unique mix of world music finds its roots in the Swedish folk music of Finland. It features a layered style of mythical medieval ballads, whirling minuets, prayers in runo-metric chants and Icelandic rimur epics. There are some moments of sheer improvisation and others that are "composed" and influenced in the classic ...
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Celtus Moonchild (Sony 487715 2)

Debut album of the incredibly talented Celtus, who were previously the hugely successful hard rock band Mama's Boys. Formed after the death of their drummer brother Tommy. John and Pat McManus from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland wrote the incredibly, mystical music to produce this fabulous album. A total change back ...
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Celtus At the Memorial Hall, Sheffield 2000 -By Jean and Emma Camp – Devon, England

We all waited outside eagerly, knowing that we were in for a treat. We were not disappointed!! It was our first visit to the Memorial Hall, and we were really taken with the intimacy of the venue. We found out after the show that the acoustics were a nightmare, but ...
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Celtus At the Royal Festival Hall on Monday 13th March, 2000

The air was filled with gathering excitement as we waited for Celtus to appear on stage. Our first view was of Dan bathed in a soft eerie glow as he conjured up the introduction to "Two Worlds". Then light erupted around John as he appeared from nowhere, low whistle in ...
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Celtus – Reviewed by The Sunday Citizen Milton Keynes on the 12th March, 2000 – by Paul Brookman

Celtus are simply the best! CELTUS are quite simply the best band Ireland has ever produced. Forget U2, The Corrs, Them or any group of any genre - this trio from County Donegal are head and shoulders above them all. After two brilliant albums their record label, Sony, dropped them ...
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Celtus – Reviewed by the Liverpool Daily Post on the 06th March, 2000 – by Andrew Judge

It's a great achievement finally knowing you've got there. Celtus have paid their dues and they deserve it. The band have supported Paul Carrack of Mike and the Mechanics fame, Deacon Blue and Jimmy Nail. It was about time it was their turn. Each Merseyside gig has shown a professionalism ...
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