A Review of the CD
"Sit Down Beside Me"
by Curtis and Loretta

"Sit Down Beside Me"
by Curtis and Loretta

Copyright 2001
Haymarket Music, HM–106
phone: (612)781-9537
mail to:curtisloretta@att.net

This review is written by Dai Woosnam,daigress@hotmail.com, 4/02

Let me start by putting the cart before the horse, and leading this review with what in some ways is a MERE TRIFLE of a thing. Indeed, it is something that other reviewers would consign to the “footnote” section: that is, if they gave it a mention at all.

This duo is based in Minneapolis, and they sent their CD direct to me at my home in England. And what a surprise I got when it arrived. No, I am not talking of the CD here: rather, I am referring to what accompanied it.

And what accompanied it was as handsome a folder of promotional publicity as I have received in many a moon. Made all the better because it was obviously personally got together by Loretta using a Xerox machine. Oh what lessons this should give to so many performers releasing CDs.

So, what am I saying? That as a reviewer, I can be influenced by the packaging? No, not exactly. Were the CD to be dross, I would have no hesitation in saying so. After all, as a reviewer, all I have is my OPINION: and it is not there to be “bought” by baubles……or GREENBACKS, come to that!

But let’s put it this way: seeing the CD so handsomely “accompanied”, made me, from the start, almost predisposed to like its contents.

And I was not to be disappointed. This album is quite glorious. I commend it to any discerning Folkie who wants to hear songs from the British Isles sung in harmony from an American duo whose diction puts that of most performers from the British Isles IN THE SHADE..

The songs are tried and trusted from the Tradition. How nice to see performers who are happy to put their imprint on a song that has often been stored away in the Musical Attic, and are not thus obsessed with writing their own stuff. I often think that current performers should be paid for NOT writing: the world is awash with contemporary dross.

And some of the songs they “dust down” are songs I have not heard in an age. It must be 20 years since I last heard “No, John, No” (sung then -- in English -- by the Red Army Choir). Here, it is the stand-out track, performed with great brio, and with some thrilling guitar from Curtis.

The sheer MUSICALITY of the album is a delight: they play between them an assortment of instruments. Loretta’s fine harp playing is prominent throughout, and almost makes me pine for my native country of Wales (where it is the National Instrument).

But this review is not a TOTAL “fan letter”. I could have done with some liner notes: no NOT a lyric sheet – their superb diction made that unnecessary – but some background information to the songs.

But hey, if that is ALL I have to complain about, then I must be a very satisfied reviewer.

Dai Woosnam

Track List:

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