This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9/02
When I was a boy, they used to say that “Lincolnshire is the second biggest county in England, and the second least-known county in the WHOLE WORLD!” And things haven’t changed much in 50 years. Take these two long-established performers.
They are well known on the thriving Folk Scene in the county, but not outside. Before I received this CD, I wondered why. Having heard it through three times, perhaps I now have the semblance of an understanding.
Now Dickinson wrote a song last year that just blew me away. Of course, the people running the BBC Folk Awards had never heard it – perversely, they even nominated two songs by the same songwriter for their Best Original Song category – and Dickinson’s song was a million times better than the eventual Folk Awards’ winner.
But here, the songs are largely written by Angela King, and even though they are all decent efforts that are always “there or thereabouts”, none of them are strong enough to really make you go to the barricades to defend them.
Indeed, the song that worked best for me, “Old Abandoned Music Hall”, has lyrics not by King, but by Sharon Childs. On it, Dickinson’s authoritative guitar and perfect harmony bolster Angela’s somewhat uneven delivery of the lyric.
What do I mean by “uneven”? Well, let us not mince words: she does not have a “great” folk voice. Okay, so it’s twenty times better than mine, but that is saying nowt!
The voice is sometimes a bit wobbly at the top end, and thus can hardly be called pitch-perfect. But hey, who WANTS that?! If you want that, go to La Scala, Milan! Here, Angela’s humanity comes shining through with every song, and that is the key. There are many so-called “great singers” who leave me cold: she didn’t. I got the warmth of the woman.
In the upper register her voice is a bit reedy: lower down, it is quite strong. If you want to get a better idea of its nature, then those of you who know the voice of the great British songwriter Leon Rosselson, will perhaps be able to imagine what a sister of his would sound like. And that “sister” would be Angela King!
Oh, one other thing before ending this review. If there was a prize for the most irritating back cover of a jewel-box, then this would win at a canter. Trying to read the titles was an almost hopeless job: when will people realise that black print on a white background has never been beaten? The world’s newspapers should give them the clue.
And then inside the front cover, whilst we have a rather inventive photo of two sets of hands, that space would have been much better served by some words on the background to every song. It would help us get a fuller picture.
Perhaps they will take this “cover/sleeve notes” thing on board before their next album. And next time, perhaps Paul Dickinson will contribute a song or three of his own.
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