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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a marvelous recital. It was recorded in 1959 and first came out on Vanguard VRS 1073 "The Cruel Mother and other English ballads anf Folksongs". The LP sells here, ALFRED AND THE DELLER CONSORT The Cruel Mother LP Vanguard VRS 1073 English Folk.
Here is the track listing:
Anon., from various collections:
1. When Cockleshells Turn Silver Bells (Alfred Deller and Desmond Dupré, lute)
2. An Eriskay Love Lilt (Deller Dupré)
3. Peggy Ramsay (Deller Consort)
4. Bushes and Briars (Deller Dupré)
5. Brigg Fair (Deller Dupré)
6. The Cruel Mother (Deller a cappella)
7. A Sweet Country Life (Deller Consort)
8. The Bitter Withy (Deller a cappella)
9. Lang A-Growing (Deller Dupré)
10. The Lover's Ghost (Deller Dupré)
11. Lovely Joan (Deller Dupré)
12. She Moved Through the Fair (Deller Dupré)
13. A Brisk Young Lad he Courted Me (Deller Consort)
14. Geordie (Deller Dupré)
The Deller Consort always sings a cappella and is comprised of Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Eileen Poulter (soprano), Mary Thomas (soprano), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Gerald English (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone), Geoffrey Coleby (bass). Desmond Dupré is credited as playing the lute, but it sure sounds like a guitar to me. But maybe a lute doesn't sound so different from a guitar.
Most songs are wistful in mood, only two, track 3 and 11 (Lovely Joan is the theme used by Vaughan Williams in the middle part of his Greensleeves Fantasia), are more lively, and the wistfulness and intimacy are such that it could make you cry. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Crosby Stills Nash & Young & all the rest, please welcome Alfred Deller. Deller is in stellar voice. the 6 minute a cappella ballad which gives its title to the recital is a tour-de-force (see the first comment hereafter for the lyrics). The 1959 sonics are great, with a presence, vividness and naturalness that doesn't betray its age - the only thing that does is the small measure of tape hiss, and those who find it intrusive and detrimental must face the fact that they don't like music.
So far so good, and in fact the recital is so beautiful that it would easily justify the short, LP-tailored TT of 42:34. BUT...
...The same recital was reissued by the company that held the distribution rights of the Vanguard catalog in Europe in the 1990s, Arcade Music Company, with the substantial complement of the near-complete contents of another wonderful Vanguard LP from 1956, BG-563, The Cries of London (only partly sung by the Deller Consort, the rest by the Ambrosian Singers, here is the LP, Cries of London), for a TT of 78+ minutes. It can be found in two different reissues, Cries of London-The Cruel and The Cries Of London. Omega Records, the company of Vanguard's founder, Seymour Solomon, retained the distribution rights in the USA, but for some reason not all the European releases had a US equivalent, and the other way around. This one here is an example: Solomon issued only The Cruel Mother, OVC 8110, short timing and all, but The Cries of London were an American casualty - especially frustrating as the European issue had to leave out two tracks, which would have been available if Solomon had completed the job.
As it is, better go to one or the other European Vanguard reissues. But whatever you do, don't miss this marvelous recital.