A Review of the Simon Mayor & Hilary James CD
"Lullabies With Mandolins"

"Lullabies With Mandolins"
by Simon Mayor & Hilary James

Acoustics Records CDACS049
Copyright: Acoustics 2004.

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 1/05

This British duo have a long tradition of recording albums aimed at children. Amazingly this is the twentieth album they have recorded together and a good percentage of them have been embraced by kids.

And this one is no exception, apart from the fact that it brings out the “kid” in us all, and if we suck on the songs long enough, madeleine cake-style, we somehow are back in the nursery and ready for our afternoon nap.

They are exquisitely performed by this multi-instrumentalist duo: not only are they ultra-talented musicians, but both are vocalists who can safely negotiate the minefield that an ostensibly simple lullaby can represent.

My favourite cut “Hush-a-bye Baby” is, to my generation, synonymous with the BBC's long-standing radio programme “Listen With Mother”. It is so easy to sing it on auto-pilot, and bore us all to the point where we CANNOT sleep, (perhaps for the sheer frustration of listening to recording artistes refusing to stretch themselves!) But these two avoid such an approach like the plague: instead, their approach to the lyric is like they wrote it just ten minutes ago.

And when these lullabies are played and sung with real freshness as they are here, you can as a reviewer, subject it to the acid test. Play it as you turn the light off at the end of your day. And see if you are asleep before the CD has got halfway!

I am pleased to say that every time I was asleep in ten minutes! So that is a tribute to the “medicinal” qualities (so-to-speak) of this CD !! I had to play it in the mornings to properly honour my obligations as a reviewer, i.e. to listen to the album all the way through.

It might seem a back-handed compliment, but believe me, you should abandon your pharmacist. Instead, invest in this fine CD.

Obtainable by mail-order worldwide. Enquire at this address: mail@acousticsrecords.co.uk

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

Track List:

All songs “Trad” unless shown.

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