A Review of the Ben Sands CD
"Take Your Time"

"Take Your Time"
by Ben Sands

Spring Records (SCD 1029)
Copyright Elm Grove Music (except tracks 2 & 5) 1993.

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 7/06

I write this review from my home in Britain some 13 years after I first heard the album. Is it a re-release? No, not exactly. It has never disappeared from one’s consciousness to NEED re-releasing! Just put it down to my sloth and my inability to keep on top of my reviewing in-tray!

In the English-speaking Folk world, Ben Sands needs no introduction. So I will spare you all the stuff about his famous Ulster family and his place IN that family in Rostrevor, County Down. I will take it as a “given” that you know all this: if you don’t, then please check out his website.

How has the album aged these 13 years? Has it proved to have legs?

“Legs”? More like TREE TRUNKS. It was a solid piece of work when it was first produced and it still is now. Nothing grates, and most of the tracks sustain one’s interest.

A goodly number are written by Ben himself, and all are sung in his easy, laid-back manner. It is like as though he is in a direct line of descent from Perry Como: like a young crooner who found singing gentle love songs FAR too energetic an activity.

For accompaniment, he is joined by some stellar names like Artie McGlynn, Kieran Goss, and Ben’s brother Colum.

The standout track on the album is not written by Ben, but by the man who co-wrote the greatest song to come from Ireland these past few decades.
(That song - for the record - is the sublime “The Tinkerman’s Daughter”.)

And no, do not let me confuse you: it is not on this album. But Mickey MacConnell’s wonderful “Supermarket Wine” is here, and it is that song, joined with Ben’s Paxtonesque delivery and Nuala Tohill’s achingly pure cello, that really jumps out at you from the album, and succeeds in taking you prisoner.

The liner notes that accompany the CD are a bit of a curate’s egg. No I am not nit-picking about Mickey MacConnell having his name misspelled ­ that would be beneath me ­ but the godawful choice of the palest of grey type for the lyrics. Perhaps the album was sponsored by Specsavers, the UK chain of opticians!

But then, just as I get slightly mad with the liner notes, I realise they are SAVED by some truly thoughtful introductory/biographical words by Neil Johnston, folk correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph.

But the AUDIO content of this CD does not need “saving”. Au contraire: buy this CD and it can “save YOU”! By that I mean, save you wasting your money on inferior albums that won’t hold a candle to this.

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

Track List (all songs written by Ben Sands, unless stated):

  1. I'm Glad It Was You - 2.47
  2. Lady Take Your Time (Allan Taylor) ­ - 3.43
  3. Cove Tuesday ­ - 2.29
  4. Willie Archer (Trad, arr Ben Sands) ­ - 4.06
  5. Hawks and Eagles (Ian Walker) ­ - 3.12
  6. Come Tomorrow ­ - 3.09
  7. Breakfast in Bremen ­ - 3.27
  8. Supermarket Wine (Mickey MacConnell) ­ - 5.18
  9. Kellie's Return/Ryanne's Pony ­ - 2.49
  10. Belfast Mountains (Trad, arr Ben Sands) ­ - 3.34
  11. Goodbye John-Joe - 2.48

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