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1 Various Artists Cold And Bitter Tears: The Songs Of Ted Hawkins (Eight 30 Records CSCCD 1123). Austin-based Ameri- cana tribute to the 20-years-gone singer, known to a generation of Andy Kershaw lis- teners as ‘Ted Orkins’. Steve James’ solo res- onator version of Whole Lotta Women and Sunny Sweeney’s Emmylou-evoking Happy Hour are the standouts.

1 Kyrra Slind Open Airs (Music & Nature MUSNATCD01). With open-strung and baroque classical guitars and lute, this album has quite a 1960s feel in its sense of adven- ture – and that’s no bad thing! The long, exploratory tracks are the best, but it’s all high quality.

The albums – good (2), adequate (1) and bad (@) – which didn’t get the full-length treatment, contributed individually by a selection of our various reviewers cowering under the cloak of collective anonymity.

2 Bert Jansch Moonshine (Earth Records EARTHCD005). Timely reissue of Jansch’s eighth (vintage 1972) studio set, rescued from obscurity and beautifully remastered. Boasting accompaniment from folk’s aristoc- racy and sporting a classy tracklist including an unrivalled January Man, this represents one of Jansch’s finest hours. A mandatory acquisition.

2 Klezmeyers Emilias Lacheln (GLM FM 203-2). Seamless fusion of Hot Club era jazz, flamenco and klezmer music. With no over- dubs there is nowhere to hide. No problems here! The instrumental prowess of the indi- vidual musicians is staggering, including some unbelievably hot soloing from guitarist Robert Kebler.

1 The Roaring Trowmen Testing… (Own label no cat no). Bristol-based shanty group named after the pilots of Severn cargo barges, whose testing-the-water debut brings a degree of fresh reassessment to a collection of approved ‘bread-and-butter’ shanties: roaring lustily (if sometimes over-enthusiasti- cally) on some while exercising greater restraint on others.

@ Gordie MacKeeman And His Rhythm Boys Laugh, Dance and Sing (Own label no cat no). Sorry, but recordings like this are an affront to my ears. MacKeeman leads his band on fiddle and vocals with pulsating drums and anything else he could find adding to the noise. Moderation may help.

1 Ozere Finding Anyplace (Own label no cat no). Canadian acoustic quintet with songs written and sung, mostly by Jessica Deutsch and Emily Rookarta. A few long meandering fiddle tunes take some getting past to some quite good harmony singing and tasty man- dolin elsewhere.

1 Beggar’s Bridge Short Stories, Tall Tales (Own label, no cat no). There should be more bands like Beggar’s Bridge taking the lore and legend of their own backyard and turning up the volume on specifically local electric roots. In this case the stories and fables of East Yorkshire are given some colour and heft. I’d have liked a lead guitar but that’s small

2 Trader Horne Morning Way (Earth Records EARTHCD006). In 1970, a duo com- prising Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport) and Jackie McAuley (ex-Them), recorded this inexplica- bly underrated sparkling, magical-mysterious cult psych-folk masterwork; its latest remas- tered incarnation, including both sides of non-album single, forms the complete recorded Trader Horne. Unmissable and zeit- geist.

@ Cork Gamelan Ensemble The Three Forges (Diatribe DIACD 019). Gamelan music with a decidedly Irish twist. Guests include vocalists Iarla O’Lionaird, Julie Feeney and Duke Special, plus occasional sax and cello. A great idea that’s let down by some, quite frankly, underwhelming material. More gongs and better songs needed.

1 Papernut Cambridge And Luke Smith & The Feelings Sullivan’s Travels EP (Gare du Nord GDN43003). East Kent collaborative tribute to comedy writer John Sullivan, from the pub cockney of Only Fools And Horses to the bittersweet Just Good Friends. A whimsi- cal labour of love that catches the moods per- fectly, and the vinyl has a link to Smith’s online sort of explanation. Luvverly!

2 Blazin’ Fiddles North (Blazin’ Fiddles Records, BFCD2015). A new line-up brings exciting, fresh material and arrangements into the band. Five fiddles, guitar and piano play traditional melodies and tunes recently- composed by the band. Jenna Reid’s Shetland Night and Angus Lyon’s Taigh Sia are elegant, wistful charmers.

2 Laura Mackenzie With Daithi Sproule And Andrea Stern From Uig To Duluth (New Folk Records 07541 80219). Fascinating musical project performing the Gaelic reper- toire of singer John Matheson, who migrated from Isle of Lewis to Minnesota in 1905. Laura’s clear Gaelic vocal has lots of expres- sion. Guitar, small pipes, harp and whistle provide sprightly, bright, smooth accompani- ment.

2 Various Artists The Ultimate Guide To Scottish Folk (ARC Music EUCD2606). Two- and-a-half hours of Scottish music! Nice mix of old (Ceolbeg, Ossian) and new (Mischa MacPherson, Breabach). Classic tracks by flag- ship artists (Capercaillie, Dick Gaughan), plus examples of the musical genre-crossing that the Scottish scene does so well (Martyn Ben- nett, Lau).

Trader Horne

1 Varldens Band Transglobal Roots Fusion (Nataraj Music NATREC1506). Big band with musicians from all over the globe playing a mix of folk, roots and pop from just about everywhere. ‘World music’ indeed, well played, well intentioned but somewhat lack- ing in grit, swing or a sense of focus.

1 Baked A La Ska Ska of Wonder (Lime- field Records LFCD020). Pun-loving Mancuni- an ska combo offers a Christmas special. Blue- beat versions of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Walking In The Air and other unlikely festive favourites delivered with energy and a sense of fun. Hit-and-miss and probably best experienced live.

1 Tantz Voytek (The Bear) (Own label no cat no).They describe their own sound as “frenzied hyper klezmer” and there’s certain- ly a wild momentum in the raw clarinet and violin soloing, recorded as live in the studios of Portishead’s Jim Barr. Bold, ardent and mis- chievous, this debut should be a gateway to the band’s renowned live frenzy.

@ Kath Reade Where the Good Hearts Dwell (Limbolabel 0032). If an album of songs based on people encountered during a career in social work sounds like hard going, you would not be wrong. The occasional telling lyric and, like it says on the packaging, its heart is in the right place, but the high- light is Four Loom Weaver accompanied on Tibetan singing bowls.

1 Chantal Acda The Sparkle In Our Flaws (Glitterhouse Records GRCD847). Hauntingly- voiced, Belgium-based Dutch singer-songwrit- er (and one half of Sleepingdog) sings over soporific soundscapes of synths, strings, drones, drums, harmonies and tinkly things. Beautifully performed, produced and pack- aged (in striking Ingrid Godon cover painting) but almost-overwhelmingly melancholic.

1 Dunja Knebl & Kololira I Mara I Cvetje (Kopito KR 008 CD). Knebl’s mission is to revive, from books, old Croatian songs, here mainly from of the north’s flat Med¯imurje and Podravina regions. To her soft, narrative singing, simply self-accompanied on guitar, her trio adds guitar, kololira (hurdy-gurdy), accordeon, recorders, vocals etc.

2 Jon And Alfie Level Pegging (Own label no cat no). Guitar and flute amalgam. An exceptional debut album of intelligent trad and original arrangements, with beauti- ful artwork. Particularly appealing is their version of Michael McGoldrick’s Water- mans, where Alfie Gidley’s intuitive guitar candidly veers into jazz chords beneath spirit- ed and driving flute.

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