A Review of the Maggie Holland CD
"Bones"Weekend Beatnik WEBE email@example.com
by Maggie Holland
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 10/07
Maggie is an English singer and song writer who gives free rein to
“angst in one's pants”, like few others. And I applaud her for her
naked honesty: a truthfulness coupled with a fine intelligence.
If I had to choose only one adjective to apply to Maggie Holland, I
would be tempted to choose that word “intelligent”. With her, there's
the wonderful sense that you get with a great artiste like say, Glenn
Gould, where you feel that the music is being composed at the very
moment it is being performed.
And it's an intelligence that also manifests itself in her glorious
ability to spot someone else's song that had often passed most of us by
unnoticed. This skill of hers had its finest moment with her wonderful
interpretation of Al Stewart's “Accident on 3rd Street”.
Alas, that splendid offering doesn't make this retrospective (which
largely contains the “best of” her albums made between 1983 and 1992,
with the addition of a few previously unreleased tracks) as it has
already reappeared - by popular demand - on her 1999 album, “Getting
But here, she similarly scores a bullseye with Stewart McGregor's
“Coshieville” and Adrian May's “No Good At Love”; and even with such a
well-known audience-pleaser as Robb Johnson's “Overnight”, she delivers
it like it was newly-minted.
But, when looking for that one word to sum up Maggie, if “intelligent”
has a serious competitor, then it surely is the adjective “fearless”.
Songs like track 18, her “Perfumes of Arabia”, are songs that do not
sit on the fence. And her gorgeously rich Hampshire accent – one
could write a thesis on her startlingly open vowel sounds alone!
- helps somehow to expose her to the forensic gaze of friend and
foe alike, in a way that many fellow artistes would be to too timid to
This keenly priced and attractively Digipacked album contains an
astonishing 24 tracks. Her own works take up about a third of the
album, along with songs by such writers as Peter Rowan, Bruce Cockburn,
Billy Bragg, Tymon Dogg, Dave Evans, Chris Smither, Randy Newman, John
Tams, Richard Thompson, Tommy Yates (and not to forget, a certain Mr
Robert Zimmerman!), and with a couple of traditional songs thrown in.
Not one is a dud: several are rather fine, and one is a
masterpiece. The chef d'oeuvre is of course her (co-written along with
Jon Moore) song, “A Proper Sort of Gardener”, a veritable 4 minute
masterclass from her, in teaching aspiring lyric writers just how to
compress so much thought and incident into just a four line
stanza. A song that will be sung 200 years from
And not many of her peers have a hope in hell of that happening to them.
This is one review album that I assuredly will not dispose of to the
charity shop. And it is not just the musical content that dictates
that: the liner notes by Colin Irwin and Maggie, are a cut above the
Days like this, one feels one is rather lucky to be a reviewer.
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