Issue 24 12/2002
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Kate Campbell "Monuments"
4057; 2002; Playing time: 39.37 min
Unfortunately I didn't get much info about this (for me) unknown singer Kate
Campbell. She is an American lady who sings beautiful Americana ballads and
rock which is inspired by country music. Kate Campbell is a strong vocalist
who is capable to sing her story in such a way that I want to know where she
is singing about. I prefer her ballads like Joe louis furniture. They have a
sadness but she brings them with a voice full of hope. She makes me feel melancholic
in a pleasant kind of way. This monuments is not a monument in music history
but surely is on the better side of the big Americana scene.
Shane Brady "A light shines out to sea"
2002; Playing time: 40.38 min
The Irish Shane Bradly lives in Germany since 1977. Here he started his musical
career writing for television and performed on several cd's by other musicians.
This latest work A light shines to sea Brady goes back to his Irish roots playing
eleven traditional and self-written songs with traditional element. He has a
peaceful way of singing and his music is of such kind to which you have to listen.
His pleasant voice needs a few instruments only to give the music just that
what it needs and nothing more. I have the feeling that the songs he sings are
personal treasures for him. He sings like he is telling about his childhood.
He does this both seriously and with a smile. Recommended cd for all people
who like good, strong Irish singer/songwriter music.
Michelle Shocked "Deep natural / Dub natural"
sound; 2002; Playing time: 120+ min
A new Michelle Shocked cd is always interesting to look out for. Not just one,
no two cd's full of music. One cd is called Deep natural which seems to refer
to pure and honest singer songwriter music. 15 great songs with influences from
rock'n roll, blues, folk and pop. Immediately I feel the strong atmosphere on
this cd. This is not just a collection of songs but they seem to be bound together
by a invisible wire. I like intimate songs like Why do i get the feeling but
I find her voice particularly strong on more rocky songs like Little Billie.
One of my favourite is the song What can I say which sounds like an old gospel
song but with a surprisingly modern sound. I enjoy this Deep natural a lot.
I didn't listen to hear music since her Arkances traveler album but this Deep
natural made me get interested in her music again. The second cd is called Dub
natural. The name says it all. Somebody has been messing around with her songs
and tried to create a new "feeling". That can be very irritating but somehow
this is well done. The songs seem to tell a story like a trip through a surrealistic
landscape. Sometimes a bit funny but mostly relaxed and inspiring. I don't know
about others, but I enjoy these cd's a lot. Too late for your Christmas present?
Ask them for your birthday. Just had your birthday? Be creative and find another
way to get this cd.
87091; 2002; Playing time: 51.05 min
I have to be honest and tell you that I never heard of Zulya before. That this
is at least a bit stupid of me proofs the fact that she won two big international
awards. In 2001 she was voted artist of the year in the world music awards and
in 2000 her album was chosen as the best world music album in Australia. Zulya
was born in the Wolga region in central-Russia. She started performing Russian
and Tartar songs when she was nine years old. This cd Aloukie contains 13 songs
mostly from old Tatar tradition and a few self-written songs. Zulya mixes her
music with styles from all over the world. Songs have Indian influences, African
sounds, Russian vocals etc etc. She picks rhythm's, techniques from all over
the world and she manages to create a new impressive own sound. She does this
in such a natural way that I'm willing to believe she has her roots in all these
countries. The cd has a melancholic overall atmosphere and is in perfect balance.
Zulya deserved her awards, that is what this cd proofs to me.
Folkrose "Canti e danze della tradizione musicale
release; 9902; 2000; Playing time: 32.58 min
At this moment I'm discovering more and more the beauty of the Italian traditional
music. Suddenly I got this cd by the unknown group Folkrose who play traditional
music mostly from Central and Southern Italy. The cd has an impressive start
with Tarentella del 600. Bit angry, dark song with strong female vocals. Not
the music you expect when you know it's a tarantella. Most tunes on this cd
are brought very traditional and with lot of accordion and string instruments.
Their choice of repertoire isn't very surprising, most tunes are known and recorded
by other artists before. I prefer the songs before the tunes because the voice
of Carla Cristofanilli is a voice that sounds like live it self. She doesn't
have a sweet or terrible good voice, but she sings with honesty and passion.
Nice cd which is great as introduction to the Italian folk music.
Folkrose "in concerto"
release; 9901; 1999; Playing time: 54.45 min
Please read first the review of their studio album for an introduction on the
group Folkrose. Because this review can give you a wrong impression of the group
because I'm not going to write very nice things about this live cd, while I'm
much more enthusiastic about their studio album. Folkrose live in concert and
something very strange happens here. On their nice studio album they play Italian
traditional music which is very enjoyable. On this live album I can't find even
one(!) Italian song. All songs are from Brittany, Ireland, Galicia and even
Asturia. This tells exactly what is wrong with this cd. Songs that have been
played so many times by other groups (and often much better) and the recordings
are not always of great quality (this is not the groups fault but we should
blame the recording equipment for this.) What a missed chance this is, folkrose
showed on their studio album that they are capable to make good music and suddenly
they turned their back to their own tradition. I do hope this group will focus
on Italian music again in future and leave songs like Lark in the morning and
La jument Michao to other musicians.
Ralph Stanley & the clinch mountain boys "Echoes
of the Stanley brothers"
sarabande; 302066215 2; 2001
This is pure country/bluegrass music from the early seventies. Two albums original
from 1971 and 1973 are brought together on this cd. Although two years only
in between, the sound quality of the 1973 album Sing gospel echoes is much better
than that from the 1971 album Michigan blues. Nice traditionals sung in the
straight way. Banjo and fiddle, harmony vocals, roaring dances and beautiful
ballads. For freaks this cd is a must, for people interested in history of American
music this cd should be part of your collection.
Tucker Zimmerman & nightshift trio "Walking
the edge of blues"
Label: private release; 2000; Playing time:
This is an older cd by Tucker Zimmerman's nightshift trio. Recorded in 1999.
As far as I understand last august he released a new one which is a tribute
to Derroll Adams. This cd walking on the edge of blues contains ten self-written
songs which all are brought in the best blues tradition. Sensitive ballads,
banjo, guitar, harmonica and bass are the main ingredients for this album. Zimmerman
sings with emotion and his voice has this touch of live that many other singers
do not have. Although I'm far from a blues-man I feel the honesty and quality
of this album. No tricks, no lies just honest and pure music. If you are a blues
man, you should at least listen to this album and see if this is the kind of
blues you like.
Christine Collister " Into the light"
Christine Collister is by now one of the leading names in English folk-pop music.
She released several albums during the eighties with Clive Gregson. I never
was a big fan of these albums but It's different with her solo work. This cd
"Into the light" contains twelve nice pop songs with a light jazz-folk touch.
Many self-written songs and a few covers like the famous "I still haven't found
what I'm looking for" which she brings as a sensitive midnight ballad. What
I like of this album is not only the quality vocals of Christine Collister but
also the sober arrangements of the songs. Often not more than vocals and guitar
or only some percussion, bass and keyboards added. This Into the light is a
quality album with a peaceful and friendly atmosphere. Somehow this album is
perfect for winter. When it's cold outside, it gives some warmth on the inside.
Eddy Morton & the Bushburys "Timeless"
Records; 88870; 2002; Playing time: 61.30 min
This is such a cd that needs time to settle in your heart. The first time I
listened to Timeless i thought that it was nothing more than twelve middle of
the road songs. But after a few times listening the music got more and more
under my skin. This band started 10 years ago and what I understand they started
as street-musicians. Central in the band is singer-songwriter Eddy Morton. His
songs have a social aspect and tell about all the facts a live could meet. The
music is rock with heavy Irish folk influences (like in Lighthouse with a guest
Uilleanpipes player) and a touch of blues. Especially the vocals by Morton have
this folk-blues sound which make this album extra interesting. My only problem
with this album is some piano pieces, but this is a personal trauma what has
nothing to do with the quality of the piano player. If you are into nice Irish
rock/pop, this album might be of your interest.
Jonny Duhan "Tree"
release; blcd04; 2002; Playing time: 32.02 min
This might be an unknown name for you but his influence on the Irish music scene
is much bigger than you expect. Artists like Christy Moore, Mary Black and the
Dubliners have recorded his songs and recently his autobiography There is a
time was published. Tree is a cd full with personal songs in the best Irish
singer-songwriter tradition. Often alone with guitar and occasionally a violin,
bass and keyboard can be heard. Duhan has a very emotional voice that is especially
strong in the darker songs like The dark side. His texts are simple without
being cliché. It's a singer-songwriter that doesn't need many words to tell
his story. This album is a very intimate piece of music which comes right out
of the heart of Johnny Duhan. Respect!
Enkh Jargal "Hoirr ongo"
welten; 20017; 2002; Playing time: 59.36 min
From Mongolia comes musician Enkh Jargal. On this cd he brings traditional tunes
and songs with the typical rhythm's and overtone singing. The album has a acoustic,
sometimes almost classical, approach. It's a mixture of field-recordings and
western re-mixes with keyboard, percussion and Celtic harp. Besides singing
he also plays the Morin Khoor (horse fiddle). The overall idea I have from this
cd is nice but not terribly impressive. The last few years there have been so
many Mongolian or Tuva groups bringing their rich musical history alive that
you have to add something new if you want to get noticed. Mixing some tunes
with "western" instruments in the way Enkh Jargal does it is not enough. His
vocals are good but not as impressive as I had hoped. His Horse fiddling is
much more interesting, he is a master on his instruments and he manages to create
a cool and exiting atmosphere when he plays his instrument. This Hoirr ongo
is certainly not a bad cd but it just misses a bit of the magic touch to really
Hornberger "Wir sind einsam aber viele"
440764-2; 2002; Playing time: 57.52 min
The cd Wir sind einsam aber viele by the German singer-song-writer Hornberger
is such a cd that is only interesting when you also understand the lyrics. Well
happy enough I had German during my secondary school career and I live only
5 kilometres from the German border so I was able to understand the lyrics Hornberger
wrote. It's not a singer-songwriter in the classical way. More he brings, like
we say in Holland and I think it's also a German word, kleinkunst. His texts
are critical, a bit sad and have some humour. he is more a storyteller than
a great musician. His lyrics are personal and their not always written in my
style. But because this is a personal cd, I'm sure there will be others who
feel this cd touches them and they understand where he is singing about. I have
no opinion about this cd, listen to it in your record store and see if it gets
you or not.
046; 2002; Playing time: 47.28 min
It's a long time ago since something from Russia reached my ears. In the past
I've always enjoyed what came out of Russia so I was very curious to hear this
unknown group Malerija. From the first moment I put this cd on I'm enthusiastic.
Heavy beats, grooves, strong mixes with ancient instruments like Gaita, Kaluka
and others. Strong sampling of Russian traditional singing and other authentic
sounds. The first song is one of my favourites. This Babushki just is the perfect
dance song. Strong beats with melody on ancient instruments and samples of traditional
vocals. It wants to make me dance and loose my head! The cd is full with this
kind of surprises. Sometimes a bit more subtle like Tonight but always with
and exiting undertone. In their music you will also find some Irish influences
but most of all this is just great Russian underground dance music. I already
passed their cd to one of the main festivals here in Holland, I hope they will
like it as well and get this group into Europe because this cd taste like more.
Buy it, one of the best cd's of 2002 I heard. (and believe me I heard a lot
of cd 's during the past year...)
Dawn of the replicants "Touching the propeller"
sparks; tbcd067; 2002; Playing time: 40.29 min
This is such a cd that actually should not be reviewed in folkworld. It's not
folk music at all but it reminds me more of the great progressive/psycho music
of late 60's and early 70's. Well done, strange atmosphere full of sounds and
even the vocals sound like they are from thirty years ago. It has alight blues
touch but most of all this is just strong retro-progressive in a modern jacket.
Although I actually like this cd, it's not a cd that should be reviewed in this
Leftover salmon "Live"
records; 743392; 2002
Leftover salmon, live on stage! Didn't know this group before but it must be
party to see them play live. This cd contains happy country rock. Beating drums,
blues piano, roaring banjo, screaming violin and other instruments. The group
doesn't try to be subtle in any way. They just play their music with a lot of
fun and energy. Songs like steam powered aeroplane just give a good feeling.
No complicated tricks or intellectual music, straight on, honest country rock
which is very enjoyable I'm only jealous to all these people who were present
at their concert.
Kings of county queens "big ideas"
rub 42; 2002; playing time: 35.33 min
The kings county queens is a US group singing country/blues. The songs are all
self written and besides female vocals this album contains accordion, violin,
harmonica, lap steel and al, the other cliché instruments you can think of.
This cd just wont get interesting. The same beat keeps coming back, brought
without any fantasy with as deepest point the song It's wrong to love you but
i do. Simple arrangements, technically nice vocals but without any emotion.
thirteen in a dozen album which is just not good enough to get above all the
hundreds of other cd's that are issued each year in the same direction.)
Tanja Ries "Metanoia"
Tanja Ries brings German music in the old tradition of Weil and Brecht. Although
in a modern jacket her self written songs sometimes have the same atmosphere,
dark and powerful. According to the promo sheet she is a post-modern diva, angel
and antichanteuse. (what the **** is an antichanteuse??, sounds like cheap champagne)
She works hard to give the impression she is a dark kind of diva but somehow
her music also shows hope and happiness. Tanja her world ain't as dark as she
wants us to believe. The problem again with this cd is that you need to understand
at least a bit of the German language. Although you will be able to feel the
atmosphere without understanding what she is singing, her bit surrealistic-poetic
lyrics completes the melody. Intriguing cd which keeps my attention more than
I want to.
Martin Hutchinson "Water from a stone"
Label: private; 003; 2002; Playing time: 55.50
The Irish Hutchinson lives in the Dutch city Utrecht. His music is a nice mixture
of both folk, blues and rock. On his latest cd Water from a stone his fourteen
songs have a friendly and open atmosphere. A song like Don't you wait is just
perfect. Strong lyric and everything seems to work in this song. Smooth rhythm
and his voice is at it's best. Same for a more intimate song like a trick of
fate. Besides these more subtle songs, Hutchinson recorded some rocky songs
as well. Listen to Feels like a king pure blues rock on a high level. Besides
his vocals I have to mention his strong guitar work. Together with the fine
self-written songs I can conclude nothing else than that Hutchinson delivered
a high quality cd which should not be left unnoticed.
Various artists "African heartbeat"
welten; 20018; 2002; Playing time: 71.40 min
Already since the early 1950's there exists record labels that specialises in
world music and if possible as authentically as possible. Klangwelten found
it necessary to issue a cd full with xylophone music, you know; these big wooden
African ones. More than 70 minutes is just too much. If this label were the
first one to record this but they are far from that. I have fantastic folkways
records and even some cd's with the same instrument. Sure it's hypnotising and
they have very special techniques etc etc. But can we please stop pretending
like we discovered new music styles and record them because it happens almost
never that such a cd really adds something to the existing catalogue of ethnological
Celtic Music; No. CDFSR1717; 2002; Playing time: min
I have a bit mixed feelings about this album. Cantrip have been evolved from
the Edinburgh session scene, and feature several talented and well known musicians,
including Gavin Marwick (Iron Horse, Burach) and John Bews (Malinky, Burach).
The rest of the band are Dan Houghton (Scottish Border Pipes, Flutes, Whistle),
Ian Willis (percussion) and Cameron Robson (guitar, bouzouki, banjo).
A lot of the material on this album is very well played, and even if the numbers
are not outstanding, they are a joy to listen to - skilled musicians playing
Scottish music in the traditional style. There are however several numbers which
sound not particularly melodic; the playing together of fiddles and Scottish
Border Pipes sounds at times in my ear rather cacaphonic. Is it just me, or
do those numbers sound rather noisy?
Contact to artist: email@example.com,
contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Smith "A Day like Today"
Celtic Music; No. CDFSR1716; 2002; Playing time: min
A very positive surprise is the debut album of the young Scottish singer Emily
Smith. Emily made her fame in Scotland this year when she won the BBC Radio
Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award 2002. Hailing from Dumfriesshire,
Emily is not only a beautiful singer with an attractive, sensitive light voice,
but she is also a talented accordion and piano player.
On this album, Emily presents a tasteful selection of seven songs, mostly traditional
(e.g. Green Grass Grows Bonny, The Cruel Mother, Molly Lovely Molly) added by
one lovely song composed by Emily (the title track) and a Robert Burns (Rigs
o Barley), and three sets of tunes. Emily is joined on most numbers by the Emily
Smith Band, featuring the young musicians Ross Ainslie (whistles, border pipes),
Jamie McClennan (Fiddle) and Sean O'Donnell (guitar, backing vocals). A few
songs are also a capella songs.
This album is stylistically similar to the shooting stars Malinky, and the calibre
of the Emily Smith Band is comparable to Malinky. It offers beautiful songs,
well and subtly arranged, balanced by a range of tunes. It is good to see that
there is a new generation of young musicians in Scotland taking up very traditional
acoustic music, securing that it survives and develops.
A real discovery.
Homepage of the artist: http://www.emilysmithband.com,
Contact to artist: email@example.com,
contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trio Dor "Le jambon Faché"
No. WBM21033; 2002; Playing time: min
Trio Dor is a Belgian trio of classically trained musicians, playing a music
mixture of Balkan music, Klezmer and Tango. The trio features violin, accordion
and clarinet/bass clarinet. The music is full of improvisation and interplay.
Sometimes this improvisation creates a spooky or uncomfortable atmostphere,
at other times, when the music is more melodic, it has a lively and energetic
feeling. The material the trio plays is partly trad, partly composed by the
band members. It seems to me like they do not manage to bring the authentic
passion and life into Klezmer and Tango music; the music feels overall rather
cold. As talented as the three musicians are, to my taste they improvise too
much making the listening a bit unsettling.
Homepage of the artist: www.triodor.com,
contact to label: email@example.com
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