Another year, and another of Proper's compilations, surveying the current state of the folk scene. The link to the BBC Folk Awards ensures quality. The 28 tracks on this three-CD set include a song from every singer and band nominated. Seven of the eight tracks nominated for either traditional or original song of the year are here too; presumably the last was omitted to avoid being too Martin Simpson heavy. There are plenty of old favourites here, such as John Kirkpatrick, Simpson himself, and Cara Dillon. We learn that Kirkpatrick's 2009 album was, astonishingly, his first ever collection of original tunes. But there are also a batch of young up and comers such as Hannah James & Sam Sweeney, Megson and Sam Carter.
If you collect folk music, of course, you're likely to have several of the albums represented here already. But you'd have to be pretty persistent to have them all, so there's bound to be a few surprises. And if you don't normally listen to folk at all, this would be a great place to start to get a sense of where British folk music is at right now. A particular treat in that regard is the standout song from Adrian Edmonson's Bad Shepherds folk-punk project; their version of the Jam's "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight."
Once again, there's a third CD with a track from each of the Young Folk Award finalists; my particular favourites this year are the Carrivick Sisters, not shown at their best with the instrumental track here. All these young acts are well worth keeping an eye on.
Again, a great value collection.