This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Kate Rusby owns one of those instantly recognizable voices. Like John Gorka or Bill Morrissey here in the States, or the vocals of June Tabor or Dolores Keane over the Atlantic, all it takes is one or two notes and identification is a snap. Rusby's is a seduction of the wistful, combined with delicateness and a hint of fragility.
She brings her unqualified asset to this John McCusker (her husband) produced release which contains fifteen songs--re-recordings of previously produced offerings, some live concert numbers and a few cuts yet to appear under her spell.
The release seems most affecting with cuts six through ten--these are the ones with the greatest vitality and emotion on display..
The plaintive "I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love" maintains the love lost U.K. folk and celtic music tradition, aided by a touching whistle interlude by Michael McGoldrick.
Positively balancing out the male-female scorecard is "Sweet Bride," featuring a jaunty banjo solo by McCusker.
McCusker on viola and Andy Cutting on accordion provide enjoyable complementary backing on "The Maid Of Llanwellyn."
Although Rusby gives it away in the liner notes, "The Wild Goose" is a charming sea shanty she has reformed by slowing it down and adding some soothing fiddling by McCusker. This is the best on the release.
"Sir Eglamore," features a meshing of McGoldrick's flute and McCusker's fiddle in this tale of dragon and knight derring do.
The fourteenth cut, "Drowned Lovers," is a tale featuring subject matter with just about everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. The tune careens along, picking up speed as it moves to conclusion.
It would be very interesting to see Rusby cut loose with a Pogues-ish-style song or two or maybe try her hand at some bluegrass. Maybe next time. This release will not be a major surprise to Rusby fans but a good introduction to those unadorned of her charms.
As for this one--move over Bo Derek. There's another 10 in town and this one has talent.
Rusby, on vocals and guitar, is supported by John McCusker on cittern, viola, fiddle, whistle and piano; Ian Carr on guitar; Ewen Vernal on double bass; Andy Cutting on accordion; Alison Brown on banjo; Francis MacDonald on snare drum; John Doyle on guitar; Andy Seward on double bass and banjo; James Macintosh on percussion; Jackie Wells on cello; Conrad Ivitsky on double bass and banjo; Malcolm Stitt on guitar; Neil Yates on brass; Lester Simpson on vocals; Michael McGoldrick on flute and whistle and Davy Steele on vocals.
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