Kate Rusby: Hourglass

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad, vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  46 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

Related website(s):  http://www.katerusby.com

My rating: 10/10

I like…  Kate’s natural voice, poignant lyrics, minimal arrangements, the combined sound  instruments, tunes, and Kate’s voice

I’m less keen on… Nothing really

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I first came across Kate Rusby in a guitar magazine. A few months later she was scheduled to perform a gig nearby. I booked a ticket and decided to sample some of her music beforehand. I settled for this, her first album.

 

Who?

Kate Rusby comes from Barnsley, Yorkshire. Prior to her solo work she had worked with Celtic girl band Continue reading “Kate Rusby: Hourglass”

John Renbourn: Live In Italy

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/jazz

Tracks: 8

Playing time:  47 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  http://www.johnrenbourn.co.uk

My rating: 9/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the evocative and deft guitar playing

I’m less keen on… Nothing really, although ideally I’d have liked the inclusion of some of John’s interaction with the audience

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I first came upon the late John Renbourn’s music through references in guitar tuition material. Not long after, I obtained a vinyl copy of “John Renbourn”.  Years later I added a CD or two to my collection, then, after hearing him live twice with harpist/multi-instrumentalist Robin Williamson, added a few more. I count myself honoured to have had my copy of this album autographed – complete with a pentangle symbol – by John at one of those gigs, where I bought it.

Continue reading “John Renbourn: Live In Italy”

Don McLean: Tapestry

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Product DetailsFolk/pop

Tracks: 11

Playing time: 42 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  https://don-mclean.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  Don’s voice, the thought-provoking lyrics, the range of tunes, arrangements and sounds

I’m less keen on…  Nothing really, though as with any album I like some tracks more than others

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In 1971 suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, an American singer-songwriter captivated many listeners with an epic but enigmatic song, “American Pie”, and the following year with “Vincent”. Much as I was tempted at the time to buy the “American Pie” album, I opted instead to buy Don’s debut album, “Tapestry”. Although the album, and its title track, shared the same name as Carole King’s better known “Tapestry”, Continue reading “Don McLean: Tapestry”

Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights

 

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/Folk-blues/Jazz/Pop

Tracks: 21

Playing time:  38 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s): http://www.dalemiller.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the upbeat feel, the rich tone

I’m less keen on…   Some of the tracks are very short, but then the album is really aimed at guitar players wanting to learn new tunes and arrangements

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Not only did the “folk revival” in America in the 1960s see the rediscovery of some great performers from, several decades earlier, it also saw a new generation of would-be guitar players. Many set themselves to learning the styles of the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis and Son House.  Some tracked down the music of other players, long dead, from the 1920s and 1930s. Blues and ragtime guitar challenged their dedication and co-ordination.

 

A number of players married the fingerpicking styles of some of the greats to compositions of their own, or to a range of tunes from folk or pop traditions. This album is a case in point. Continue reading “Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights”

Fay Hield: Orfeo

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad; vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  43 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

Related website(s):  www.fayhield.com

My rating:  9/10

I like:  Fay’s voice, the arrangements, 3 especially strong songs including one that blows me away each time

I’m less keen on:  a few of the less melodic songs – personal taste only, however!

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“The Hurricane Party” isn’t what you would expect for the name of the band that backs a singer who performs traditional “folk” music. Continue reading “Fay Hield: Orfeo”

Sandy Denny (biography) “No More Sad Refrains”

Summary

 

Format:  Bookno-more-sad

Genre:  Biography (Music: Folk)

Pages (paperback): 

Availability (out of 3): **

 

Related website(s):  http://www.sandydennyofficial.com

My rating:  9/10

I like…   Engaging, empathetic, easy to read 

I’m less keen on…  The sloppy grammar at times

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Sandy Denny had an uncanny ability to get right inside even songs penned by others, whether a traditional folk song or a more contemporary one, making it her own and delivering it with a power and an aura that were awesome. In a voice that was natural yet controlled she made the melody soar and tumble. It has the ability to break and mend the heart. Despite frequent listenings, some of her songs still have the ability to make my spine tingle and the hairs on the back of my neck rise.

Continue reading “Sandy Denny (biography) “No More Sad Refrains””

Mississippi John Hurt: Library Of Congress Recordings

Summary

Format: CD (2 discs)mjh-congress-cover

Genre:  Blues/Folk blues

Tracks: 35

Playing time:  108 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  http://mississippijohnhurtfoundation.org; for footage and tutorial material: http://www.guitarvideos.com

My rating: 10/10

I like…  The warm, gentle singing and nimble guitar playing, the upbeat feel

I’m less keen on…  –

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Not all acoustic blues will appeal to a newcomer to the genre. I feel that Mississippi John Hurt is a great starting place.

Firstly not all his music was, strictly blues, but came from a wider range of material. Many of the songs he recorded are upbeat and melodic rather then melancholic and strident. Secondly, as the great Doc Watson and Stefan Grossman described them, even Mississippi John’s blues had a happy feel to them!

He recorded a few songs in 1928 and was rediscovered in the 1960s American folk revival, where he endeared himself to a new generation of fans, many of whom learned to play and sing some of his songs.

I love Mississippi John’s guitar playing. It’s tuneful, often mirroring the melody line, and generally gentle and nimble. He plays a steady, alternating bass and weaves the melody over it, with some nice syncopation and bass runs. I play a number of his songs on guitar myself.

Who?

I’ve already given away part of the game. John passed into obscurity Continue reading “Mississippi John Hurt: Library Of Congress Recordings”