A Review of the Kate Green CD
"An Unkindness of Ravens"
"An Unkindness of Ravens"
by Kate Green
Kate Green Music CD 001
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, email@example.com, 4/07
This is a CD re-release of her 1994 album, originally
on cassette only. The publicity handout tells us that “a prolonged
period of ill health delayed a re-pressing. The new century had
dawned by the time she eased herself back into public performance. By
this time the CD was king, so a CD reissue was mooted.”
Now, we will lightly gloss over the fact that apparently in 1994 there
was somewhere where the CD wasn't “king” (I mean, apart from the
outer reaches of North Korea!): what concerns me more is that it has
taken a full 12 years to see this very decent album make the transition
to compact disc.
For those of you who don't know Kate Green's work, I think she can best
be summed up as having a Scots voice that incorporates the timbre of a
Barbara Dickson coupled with the intelligent interpretation of a
Heather Heywood. (Note that I talk of interpretation: any reviewer
using the term “cover version”, with Ms Green, has clearly got their
ears on wrong. How come? Well, there are several songs on this album
that I automatically associate with certain performers: “She Moved
Through The Fair” with Margaret Barry and Sandy Denny; “Reynardine”
with AL Lloyd; and “By Weary Well” with The Incredible String Band.
But a measure of the success of her putting her OWN stamp on the songs
and not simply doing “Matthew, tonight I am going to be Margaret Barry”
etc. covers, is the fact she made the songs come up almost newly
minted, and never made me think of the versions that I had long had in
my mind from yesteryear.
She is accompanied by four stellar musicians (in alphabetic order) Mike
Coleman, Raymond Greenoaken, Steáfán Hannigan and Patrick
Walker. And the album proves a solid showcase for her talents: clearly
versatility is her middle name. She can switch with apparently
consummate ease from a bluesy rendition of Clive Palmer's “Empty Pocket
Blues”, to a big Child ballad like “The Cruel Mother, to a Hedy
West-type approach to the old railroad song “Reuben's Train”.
A thoroughly agreeable album. I am not sure I would go to the
barricades for it necessarily (that said, there is indeed very little
for which I so would!), but to say anything less than “this is a very
professional and pleasing debut CD” would be churlish – and silly – of
I wish it a fair wind.
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