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Leave Your Sleep [2 Cd] [Special Edition]

Natalie Merchant Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: 11.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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It was after Natalie Merchant had completed her debut effort for Nonesuch Records—2010’s ambitious Leave Your Sleep, in which she set to original music other writers’ poetry, nursery rhymes, and lullabies—that she realized the words she really wanted to concentrate on were once again her own.

As composer and singer Merchant explains, “Leave Your Sleep was a ... Read more in Amazon's Natalie Merchant Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Leave Your Sleep [2 Cd] + Natalie Merchant + Tigerlily
Price For All Three: 25.82

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  • Natalie Merchant 9.99
  • Tigerlily 3.97

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Mar 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Special Edition
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B002ZCDR88
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,617 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Nursery Rhyme Of Innocence And Experience 5:110.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Equestrienne 4:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Calico Pie 2:410.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Bleezer's Ice-Cream 5:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. It Makes A Change 3:310.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. The King Of China's Daughter 2:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The Dancing Bear 5:370.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. The Man In The Wilderness 3:440.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Maggie And Milly And Molly And May 4:060.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. If No One Ever Marries Me 2:210.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. The Sleepy Giant 3:190.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. The Peppery Man 5:050.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. The Blind Men And The Elephant 5:330.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Adventures Of Isabel 3:230.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. The Walloping Window Blind 4:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Topsyturvey-World 5:080.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. The Janitor's Boy 3:520.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Griselda 5:500.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. The Land Of Nod 4:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Vain And Careless 4:420.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Crying, My Little One 2:260.79  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Sweet And A Lullaby 3:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen23. I Saw A Ship A-Sailing 2:120.79  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Autumn Lullaby 3:210.79  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Spring And Fall: To A Young Child 3:030.79  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Indian Names 5:520.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Though it's possibly a bit mean to suggest that Natalie Merchant has the hallmarks of a reformed junkie, it's true to say that while strident-bordering-on preachy in her 10,000 Maniacs years, these days she seems to have gone cold turkey from her own words.

Her last solo release was 2003's low-key set of folk covers, The House Carpenter's Daughter, and Leave Your Sleep is also, to a degree, a covers record. What it isn't, however, is low key. Quite aside from being a double record, it by all accounts really did take six years to make, and features over 100 musicians, with the lyrics all poems about childhood culled from the breadth of the 19th and 20th century British and American canon. It is, inevitably, a very mature record, and fans expecting Maniacs-style folk rock or even Tigerlily-size choruses had best think again. But it's a long way from boring: you can feel the time spent on it, with near enough every track soaked in some distinct, lush musical trapping, be it bluegrass, reggae, warm woodwind, sprightly folk, southern-fried blues and, in the case of Bleezer's Ice-Cream, 1950s-style advertising jingle (admittedly adapted from a Jack Prelutsky poem that parodied the form).

What's astonishing is how cohesive it all is: from the fire-eyed, Celtic-tinged chamber music of Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience (Charles Causley), through to the stark, troubled strings of the closing Indian Names (Lydia Huntley Sigourney), Leave Your Sleep never feels over-extended. The sheer ravishing beauty of the arrangements, combined with the tasteful, organic aesthetic (no synths here), prevents things ever jarring, and Merchant's voice flows constant throughout, supple and hard as silken steel. Indeed, everything sounds so good from a purely musical perspective that the record perhaps doesn't showcase its lyricists as well as it could. It's hard to really see that it cumulatively says anything about childhood, except perhaps that it's the lurid bits that stick with you–Charles E. Carryl's faintly traumatic The Sleepy Giant is a piece of grotesque that's hard to ignore. But most of these poems simply sink into the verdant whole–200 years of lyrical and musical history, washing beautifully by. --Andrzej Lukowski

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CD Description

"This album captures so many magical moments, the best times I've ever had as a musician," declares singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant of Leave Your Sleep, her ambitious, two-disc Nonesuch debut. Merchant, celebrated solo artist and the one-time voice of 10,000 Maniacs, took on what could have been a daunting task; she's adapted 19th and 20th century British and American poetry--well-known and obscure work, anonymous rhymes, children's lullabies, all of it timeless material full of direct emotion--and fashioned new songs from these words. Among the poets she chose were Robert Graves, Charles Manley Hopkins, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The project, six years in the making, has clearly had a liberating effect on Merchant. Never has she sounded so free-spirited, so full of musical adventure, whether backed by small jazzy combos or elegant chamber ensembles. The tracks she's created range from exotic ("The King of China's Daughter") to earthy ("Peppery Man"), soothing ("I Saw A Ship A-Sailing") to swinging ("The Janitor's Boy"), mischievous ("It Makes A Change") to moving ("Spring and Fall"). The string arrangements are particularly stirring, recalling Joshua Rifkin's now-classic work on Judy Collins' Wildflowers.

There's plenty of child-like wonder, counterbalanced with grown-up sophistication. Says Merchant, "It was an exciting, new approach for me to work with rhythm and rhyme schemes created by other writers. The poems inspired vastly different musical settings with their themes that ranged from humorous and absurd to tragic, romantic, and deeply spiritual. Over the course of three years I wrote 40 of these poem-songs and 30 were eventually recorded.

Merchant co-produced Leave Your Sleep with Venezuelan musician-composer Andres Levin, a frequent collaborator of David Byrne and Arto Lindsay, and one of the creators of the eclectic Red Hot charity series. Over the course of a year's worth of exhilarating, musically shape-shifting sessions, they drew upon no less than 130 musicians from the varied worlds of, among other things, Cajun, country, jazz, chamber music, R&B, Celtic, and reggae. The revitalized Merchant explains, "I called on old friends and approached many new musicians I only knew through admiring their work... The sessions were recorded in live ensemble workshop settings that captured pure and authentic sounds played with incredibly fresh and spontaneous energy."

Leave Your Sleep is an inspired return for Merchant, her first studio album in seven years--an effort long awaited by her considerable fan base. It also marks her 25th year as a uniquely successful major-label artist, one whose work has consistently enjoyed equal measures of commercial and critical success. Though she has regularly lent her talents over the preceding years to the many non-profit causes she supports, Merchant actively returned to the concert stage, previewing material from Leave Your Sleep on a series of dates in the UK and continental Europe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, delighful and quite wonderful 2 July 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Years in the making, this epic double album finds Natalie Merchant at the very top of game. The premise of nursery rhymes and poems set to music at first seems a little underwhelming, but her music and voice bring these simple tales to life in a way that is utterly captivating. It is easily one the most impressive works by any artist in recent years.

The supporting booklet is also beautifully produced. Even though this package might seem "expensive" compared to a typical CD, I highly recommend the full length edition. It's actually something of a bargain.

Highly recommended.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This has been a gigantic labour of love for Natalie Merchant. "Leave Your Sleep" is the culmination of six years of research and collaboration and is, in Merchant's words, "The most elaborate project I have ever completed or even imagined" The former 10,000 Maniacs singer is a brilliant and passionate artist and her statement no idle boast since "Leave your sleep" is hugely ambitious and richly rewarding. It may turn out to the best music she has ever recorded in her long career and for Merchant's thoughts on the genesis of this album's concept check the fascinating interview given to Granta on their website.

This is a hugely accessible album and after initially downloading the 16 songs on the "Selected" version it was a joy to get a further 10 on this double album. The amount of music may appear daunting but you can almost sing the songs after one listen and this may be partially down to astonishing fact they are all reworked children's' songs, lullabies and nursery rhymes. Again a health warning this might just suggest that this is purely an album of simplicity and charm (and it has these qualities in abundance) but it is much more than that. Across these 26 songs Merchant throws in everything in terms of musical style and genres with the only notable absence being the kitchen sink. She takes the childlike themes into deeply adult territory and is backed by a dazzling array of musicians including the jazz giant Wynton Marsalis; the gospel quartet The Fairfield Four and the Memphis Boys and some members of the New York Philharmonic for good measure The key instrument here nevertheless is her voice which is warm and full of feeling throughout. Now into her late forties her singing has aged beautifully and is even richer now than she recorded "Tigerlily" in 1995.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of Childhood [Not a childrens record] 13 April 2010
Format:Audio CD
Releases by Natalie have been few and far between since she left 10,000 Maniacs, so the release of the first new material in 7 years will be welcome news to her fans. Natalie is now signed to the Nonesuch label and this album is available in 2 different versions. A 2 disc set [the Complete Works] and Leave Your Sleep: Selections [Selections from it] . Initially Natalie wanted to release it in two separate volumes, but the record label decided it would be better to release it as a double album - as it currently sits so high in the Amazon charts the marketing men obviously got this right. I think there will be a lot of people who will turn their nose up at this because of what it is percieved to be - childrens poetry set to music. But anyone who has heard any tracks from it will be pleasantly surprised.

That music and poetry should meet at some point is not a surprise. There has over the years been a number of musical projects related to the work of different poets, I can think of the "Now & In Time to Be" project that featured the works of WB Yeats or Rufus Wainwright recent trips into Shakespeare territory. And now we have this release. An initial glimpse at the poets involved lead to the thought "who be them?" as I had never heard of many of them before, but dont let that put you off.

This is not an album for children. It is at some level an album about childhood. From Natalie's own words it features poetry "about, for or by children" and "a child's emergence into the world of language". It may well appeal to children, but it is, as far from, a kids record as you can imagine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave you Sleep Natalie Merchant 21 May 2010
Format:Audio CD
Since "House Carpenters Daughter" I thought Natalie had gone for good but here she is with what can only be described as an absolutely amazing piece of musical whimsy. The concept is sound; take poems from child hood and set them to music. But here is the thing, how do you do this without losing the integrity of the words whilst still attracting an adult listener? There could be a tendency to be banal with oversimplified music having that rhymatic beat that is so very prevelant in childhood songs. Merchant however avoids all of the obvious traps and has created a double CD which is varied, interesting, musically innovative, full of outstanding musicianship and quite simply glorious. Covering a variety of musical styles, Jazz, classical, traditional folk, bluegrass and more, she interweaves the words of the poems into a rich, varied tapestry of spellbinding music. Here you will find sadness, humour, nonsense, longing etc in fact nearly every human emotion relayed neatly through words and music. I defy anyone not to be moved by the sadness and loneliness conveyed in my favourite's "The Land of Nod" or "if no one ever marries me" Quite simply this is a momentous project which Natalie has undertaken and it works exceptionally well. Some of the songs I found took some listening too but when that dawning of realisation comes upon you that this CD is like a good book, full of depth, demanding respect and superbly well crafted you feel priviledged to be a part of the whole experience. I thoroughly recommend this magnificent work to you. If your serious about music and the written word you will not be disappointed. I promise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique !
An amazing collection of poems, set to music and beautifully sung by Natalie. Haunting stories and melodies that will live in your head for years to come.
Published 1 month ago by John Dalkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Highly recommended.Fantastic singer and well worth listening to....CD is of superb quality and delivery was prompt. Will use again...thanks very much.
Published 1 month ago by Myron
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful talent, wonderful music
One of the women I'd love to meet; if such an 'unlikely' event were to take place, I'd feel so priviledged at meeting one of the artists in my personal top 5 all at number one. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peter G
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and beautiful music for our times
Following the anniversary of Charles Causley's death (or was it birth?) the BBC played one of the tracks from this album, which was one of his poems set to music and sung by... Read more
Published 7 months ago by M. V. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Merchant of magic & mischief
There are few female singers I love as much as Natalie Merchant.
I came late to both her and her old band 10,000 Maniacs, but have made up for my puzzling omission in recent... Read more
Published 11 months ago by GlynLuke
5.0 out of 5 stars superbly serenely and sentimental
Every now and then we humans make a personal discovery. Its that moment when time stands still and you own yourself and for that moment you are lord of everything ..and nothing . Read more
Published 23 months ago by M. D. Frampton
5.0 out of 5 stars Most definately for children and the child within!
Having read the reviews for this album I am amazed some say this is not a good album for children??! Read more
Published on 3 May 2012 by Penelopepouts
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
This is a beautiful album of songs honed from a late blooming love of poetry and the harnessing of an exceptional songwriters skill. Read more
Published on 30 April 2012 by A. Greenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Merchant - Leave Your Sleep
This album is an absolute joy! Natalie Merchant has taken a collection of beautiful poems, 130+ gifted musicians and crafted music around them in a way that will have you playing... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2012 by M O Neill
2.0 out of 5 stars Not in the same class as Ophelia
This album was disappointing to me. However, I suspect it was truly satisfying to Natalie. It is obviously a personal 'project'. Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2012 by Tim T
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