This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
73 f

2 Africän Protoköl Beyond The Grid (Abozamé ABO003). A sextet of musicians from Belgium and Burkino Faso kick up a storm on tight jazz and jazz/funk arrange- ments of compositions by alto and baritone saxophonist Guillaume Van Parys with the African influence restricted to the singing, some of the percussion and some nifty bala- fon playing.

@ Big Joe Williams Southside Blues (Rock Beat ROC-383). Good old Big Joe could do no wrong with his wild, rattling, stomping nine- string guitar and raucous country blues. But this short, lo-fi live recording does its best to do him down. There are many better intro- ductions out there, and even completists will find this hard to love.

2 Various Artists Mr Bongo Record Club Vol 2 (Mr Bongo MRBCD151). A gloriously soulful and funky collection of worldwide disco-miscellany featured in Mr Bongo DJ sets. It offers up wall-to-wall party anthems and disco beats from Mexico to Burkina Faso. Joyful.

2 Coast Windmills In The Sky (Ruabhal Records, SAM04). Third album from five-piece Scottish Highland folk-rock band. They create epic, stadium-filling soundscapes of heroic vocals, rock guitars, bass, keyboards, percus- sion. With anthemic ballads, soaring melodies and bagpipe-style guitar-riffs, they’re like Run Rig, Simple Minds and T’Pau rolled into one.

2 Odetta My Eyes Have Seen + The Tin Angel / At The Gate Of Horn (Soul Jam 600900). Before Baez and Dylan, there was Odetta. These three albums plus ten bonus tracks from the late 1950s showcase the leg- endary singer at the peak of her considerable powers. Booklet includes original sleeve notes alongside an essay by Eloise Moody.

1 Vedan Kolod Tribes (FireStorm Produc- tion FSP-018-17). 2006’s first in the re-release of back-catalogue by pioneering Siberian group reawakening the spirit of the tradi- tional songs of mediæval Russia, accompany- ing their hard-edged dronal harmony singing (female and male) with gutsy traditional wind and stringed instruments and drums made by the group’s Valery Naryshkin. face-

1 The Deadly Winters Ravynstoun (Jester’s Shoes Records). You’ve got to like these guys, their acoustic, pep-you-up materi- al gets a touch more serious. I detect more personal and pointed touches in Chris Blair’s writing, but still they manage an album of rolling, distinctive craft which appeals all the way through to the final seconds. thedeadly-

1 Lenka Lichtenberg Masaryk – Národní Písne (ARC Music EUCD 2751). Canadian singer of Czech-Jewish descent, best known for Yiddish songs, sings Czech, Moravian and Slovak folk songs from pianist and politician Jan Masaryk’s 1948 Národní Písne songbook, in elegantly produced new arrangements. Far from village music, dulcet, nostalgic, but per- haps evocative of former Czechoslovakia’s 20thC history.

1 Kellswater Bridge As The Story Goes… (Spiritone Records 1043). Story-songs from the Celtic and wider British traditions, given a light-textured, airy treatment by Wis- consin-based Rebecca Gilbert, her two com- panions and several guests. Attractively scored and appealingly played, though just a little too consistently ‘nice’ perhaps.

1 Alan & The Big Hand Yellow Car No Return (Lost Wasp Records LWR007). Latest offering from generous-spirited Alan McClure’s self-styled folk collective takes an unashamed- ly, wilfully eclectic approach to McClure’s wistful, whimsical life-meditations. Sponta- neous, enthusiastic indie-folk with an appeal- ingly light-textured production – but ulti- mately destined not to rise above minor- league sub-cult status.

1 Ingried Boussaroque Islands (Ingried Boussaroque 5029385 842376). This Quebec singer presents an odd mixture of straightfor- ward renditions of well-known items such as Skye Boat Song and The Parting Glass with interestingly performed and arranged songs from Iceland, Denmark, Scandinavia and Gaelic Scotland as she charts her musical jour- ney from home to the island of Barra.

2 Various Artists Folk & Great Tunes From Scotland (Tasal Records, TR003). Great value (32-tracks!) selection of top-notch recent recordings by leading Scottish folk bands, including Rura, Manran, Elephant Ses- sions, Gary Innes, Rachel Newton, Paul McKenna, Breabach, Shooglenifty, Treacher- ous Orchestra. The accompanying booklet (addressing a German audience) praises the Scottish folk scene.

1 Sebastian & Mathæus Ind-/Ungang (Go’ Danish Folk Music GO0817). Thoughtful, meditative debut by a young Danish guitar and bass instrumental duo. There’s potential here in the playing and composition, but they’re not yet accomplished enough to pull off such a spare sound. A production offering more space would help, too. One for the future.

2 Shelagh McDonald Album (Talking Ele- phant Records TECD378) Stargazer (Talking Elephant Records TECD379). These 1970 and 1971 albums comprise an essential chapter of the UK folk-rock era, placing McDonald’s poetic originals alongside covers and trad:arr like Stargazer’s monumental Dowie Dens Of Yarrow. Same bonus tracks as the 2005 Castle 2xCD reissue.

Shelagh McDonald 1972

1 Rowan Leslie with Graeme Arm- strong EP: Originals (Rowan Leslie). Origi- nal material composed and performed by a young Northern Irish fiddler from County Antrim, accompanied by acoustic guitar. This is chewy fiddle-playing with a rustic immedia- cy, and melodies with unusual chromatic twists.

1 Chris Murphy Hard Bargain: Live/Solo (Teahouse Records THR004). Prolific American fiddler/composer’s live solo album of acoustic rock-country music is bravura, barn-storming stuff in the tradition of The Devil Went Down To Georgia. With his pulsating violin, vigor- ous vocals and percussive foot-stomping, Murphy is truly a one-man band.

1 Various Artists The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso (Mr Bongo MRBCD152). Cap- tures the soundtrack to the ’70s cultural revo- lution in the West African state. Smouldering nightclub funk anthems, trance-inducing rhythm and out-there psychedelia live happi- ly alongside each other. Stars include Abdoulaye Cissé, Tidiana Coulibaly & Dafra Star and the charismatic James Brown-esque Amadou Balaké.

@ Old Salt Union Same (Compass 7 4693 2). This would be labelled Americana, as although the instrumentation fits the blue- grass formula, the music does not. Far too often songs become an ordeal with long instrumental passages weaving textures of sound. One could ask, for what purpose?

1 An Dha Celtivation (Squeajay Produc- tions 5029385844141). Second album of origi- nal and traditional British music from fiddle/cello duo who won Celtic Connections 2017’s Danny Kyle award. They play with zest, elegance and occasional jazzy, Americana influences. Fans of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas will enjoy this.

2 Dai And The Ramblers Bon Bon (Ace /Just Peachy Records). Strong offering by big voiced singer who handles wide ranging orig- inal material from rock through cajun to country. Well produced and played. A most enjoyable listening experience.

1 Thierry Massoubre Behind The Strings (Acoustic Music Records w319.1573.2). French flat picker in the company of some good fel- low pickers to make a good, flash, bluegrass record. No singing, but enough hot licks to keep you going.

1 Simon Taylor Now Then (Simon Taylor). Dublin-born guitarist and composer Simon Taylor’s debut album finds a talent previously confined to a producer’s role. Aided by Kíla and Dead Can Dance personnel, Taylor’s eight atmospheric instrumentals’ evocatively touch Celtic, ambient and cinematic bases by turn.

1 Artús Ors (Pagans PAG011). Occitan hea- thens make an inventive and invigorating racket on five proggy epics concerning the cursed king of the heath and the fallen king of the mountain. Darker, heavier and smarter than those hellish legions of silly European folk-metal bands.

1 Assembly Lane Northbound (Assembly Lane ALCD01). Young Newcastle-based quar- tet scoring with its debut offering, a skilfully cohesive shared-traditions menu that unashamedly takes in UK and US song sources and progressive bluegrass played on fiddle, mandolin, guitar and double bass. An outfit to watch.

1 MacQuarrie & Toms Granite (EP) (Mac- Quarrie & Toms MacQToms001). Second EP release from Cornish fiddle/guitar duo takes their earlier experimentation further with extra instruments, loops and other effects on what is otherwise just a pleasingly charged six-tracker featuring Cornish, Celtic and origi- nal tunes and two songs.

Photo: Keith Morris

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84