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2 Dick Gaughan An Introduction To Dick Gaughan (Topic TICD010) For almost 50 years, Dick Gaughan has been one of the best known voices in Scottish music: powerful, passionate, committed, at times vitriolic, but capable of great tenderness and sensitivity too. This Topic retrospective is a timely refresher, covering his early years up to 1981’s still stunning Handful Of Earth album. Willy O’Winsbury reminds us that when it comes to traditional ballads he is peerless as well. topicrecords.co.uk


@ Pol Huellou & Friends The Lost Agen- da (Goasco Music GM1705). The Breton multi-instrumentalist who has spent much time in Ireland presents a broad variety and much of musical interest in this selection but the rough quality of the singing loses it many marks. artforpeace@wanadoo.fr


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


2 Catherine Bent Ideal (Catherine Bent 793447410920). American conservatory jazz muso cellist takes on the Brazilian chorro tra- dition and wins. Charming, inventive and well on the right side of the predictable MOR that it could so easily have lapsed into. catherinebent.com


2 Eliza Carthy An Introduction To Eliza Carthy (Topic TICD007). An exhaustingly diverse collection of often radical, challeng- ingly reinvented English folk and much else besides from folk’s cheerfully self-confessed muddle, spanning two decades of Topic album releases from KingsOf Calicutt to the Wayward Band and all points in between. topicrecords.co.uk


2 John Tams An Introduction To John Tams (Topic TICD008). Tams’ original song- making is shot through with his staunch life- long commitment to chronicling social change and celebrating working men and women. This primer collection concentrates on his three post-millennium albums for Topic, preceded by two seminal mid-’80s Home Ser- vice tracks. topicrecords.co.uk


2 Ewan MacColl An Introduction To Ewan MacColl (Topic TICD009). Where do you start with this legendary figure? This creditable collection is as good a place as any, presenting eighteen tracks mostly sourced from currently-less-easily-available Topic orig- inal albums, with a timespan from 1952 through to 1966. Undoubtedly classic. topicrecords.co.uk


2 Phil Doleman Skin & Bones (Phil Dole- man PD003). Genuinely good-time music from ukulele stalwart, who also plays a mean banjo. Hokum, blues, country, ’20s standards and Slim Gaillard held together with strong arrangements, tap dancing and even wax- cylinder recording. phildoleman.co.uk


2 The Dead Brothers Angst (Voodoo Rhythm LP VR12106, CD VRCD106). They may hate me for saying it, but this is charming: Berliner-cabaret, chanson noir, Wurlitzers, country, klezmer from Swiss band who proba- bly wear a lot of makeup. My kind of angst. voodoorhythm.com


1 Phantom Voices Peace By Peace (Wyre WR0006). Chunky, solid-state violin-and-elec- tric-guitar-fuelled folk-rockery on this second album from Blackpool six-piece. Their self- penned stories are intelligently written and arranged within approved parameters, and boast keen musicianship and singing. phantomvoices.com


1 Feral Beryl Get It Righter (Feral 101 0 754220 520243). Three English women with folk and country roots whose music varies from good, where they remind of the McGar- rigles, to quite painful. Music that is best left as a memory of a live gig. feralberyl.com


1 Spyrogyra St Radigunds (Talking Ele- phant TECD388). The initial flowering of folk- rock produced some out-there bands but none more so than Spyrogyra, whose highly individual music satisfied many a bedsit con- sumer with its odd time signatures and ever changing settings. Named after the street in Canterbury where they lived, titles like Magi- cal Mary or Cogwheel, Crutches & Cyanide, explain much. RIP main thinker Martin Cock- erham who recently passed. talkingelephant.co.uk


Spyrogyra – Martin Cockerham second left, singer Barbara Gaskin right


1 Windborne Song On The Times CD & songbook (Windborne ISBN 978-0-692-91684- 1). Just to prove that protest ain’t dead, here’s a mini-compendium of eleven songs of social struggle, powerfully sung a cappella by US-based harmony foursome (somewhat recalling the mighty Chumba’s English Rebel Songs project). Comes complete with attrac- tive hand-bound songbook. windbornesingers.com


1 Sogesong Så Vide Fara Dei Lindarord (Heilo HCD 7319). Øyonn Groven Myhren and Anne Hytta accompanying Øyonn’s clear- voiced singing of mediæval ballads from her native Telemark on a well- integrated blend of dark-toned reconstructed mediæval Euro- pean stringed instruments: two types of fid- dle-like vielle, and five- and seven-stringed plucked lyres. grappa.no


1 Larry Kaplan True Enough (Hannah Lane Music HLM-04). Two years on from his last collection finds established New England singer-songwriter in fine fettle on a new batch of songs taking in companionable his- torical tales, suitably nostalgic reminiscences, homespun philosophy and commentary. Reli- able musical friends provide easygoing, genial backdrops. larrykaplanmusic.com


@ Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches Get Us Out Of Fearland (On The Bol OTBR0004). Nick Russo, banjo and assorted instruments, and his singing partner and songwriter Betina Hershey add various musi- cians and try just about every style in the book. Less than inspiring. banjonickaru.com


1 TríOrganico Floresta (Homerecords 5425015551845). Belgium-based Mexican composer-ethnomusicologist Osvaldo Hernández Napoles heads the multi-instru- mentalist trio TriOrganica, performing cultur- ally eclectic original material immersed in African diaspora and indigenous Latin Ameri- can traditions. homerecords.be


2 Sarakina Balkantron (Amadeus AMCD008). Superb musicians from across Central Europe play muscular and original visions of traditional Balkan music through heavy improvisations and accomplished jazz nous. Flying above an intricate web of clar- inet, double bass, tupan, bagpipes and gadul- ka, the sumptuous vocals of Anna Klebus are an otherworldly, beautiful contrast. sarakina.art.pl


@ The Zagoria Trio Home (Zagoria). White Zimbabwean, Ilan Zagoria moved with his family to Australia as a young man, plays music inspired by the traditions of Madagas- car and Zimbabwe. His music is quite interest- ing in places but fails to fly high as we know these traditions can. ilanzagoria@hotmail.com


2 Gretchen Peters Dancing With The Beast (Proper PRPCD148). Contemporary Nashville singer delivers possibly her strongest collection of original compositions yet, rivalling 2015’s Blackbirds. Intense and apt musical backdrops courtesy of producer Doug Lancio and team. gretchenpeters.com


2 Adam Sutherland Some Other Land (Errogie Records ERROGIE04CD). Second solo album from Highland fiddler and composer is entirely self-composed and mixes Scottish tra- ditional styles with rock, pop, jazz, blues, Indian and Eastern European flavours. Sutherland’s fiddle is accompanied by guitar, bass, drums, keys, accordeon and percussion. Bravura stuff. adamsutherland.co.uk


@ The Lonesome Ace Stringband When The Sun Comes Up (The Lonesome Ace Stringband). Canadian trio, banjo, fiddle, bass and occasional guitar with vocals. Does- n’t quite make it. Solo singing not convincing and lots of thin passages with just fiddle, bass and banjo in background. lonesomeace.com


Photo: Keith Morris


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