MARTIN SIMPSON – The Bramble Briar

My first introduction to Martin’s opening track ‘Polly On The Shore’ was the Trevor Lucas interpretation on the Fairport 9 album. Something to live up to then – but no problem for Mr. Simpson who brings his own stamp to bear. Sitting comfortably as a guitarist’s guitarist the accompaniments are exquisite throughout and the addition of cellist Barry Phillips on ‘Dives & Lazarus’ lends weight without being intrusive.

I haven’t heard Martin for some years but it is nice to note that he still has a habit of occasionally pinching his vocals in much the same way Kirk Douglas used to. (‘Fair Annie’ is a good example of this).

Martin’s vocals have mellowed with time making him even more accessible to a wider audience. The album also includes some jaunty instrumentals like the version of ‘The Princess Royal’ when he is joined by Martin Carthy and Chris Parkinson on harmonica and accordion. The album comes highly recommended.

Original Posting date – 25-May-2001
Reviewers Name – Pete Fyfe