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Prodigal Son [CD]

Martin Simpson Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: £12.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Vagrant Stanzas


There is no doubt that after 35 years as a professional musician Martin is, right now, better than ever. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, his interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling. His solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving.

There is no-one who has more successfully combined ... Read more in Amazon's Martin Simpson Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Prodigal Son + Vagrant Stanzas (Deluxe Limited Edition) + The Definitive Collection
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 July 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Topic Records
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,292 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. Batchelors Hall 4:47£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Pretty Crowing Chicken 2:55£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Lakes of Champlain 4:39£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. She Slips Away 3:16£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Granemore Hare 5:55£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Mother Love 1:54£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Little Musgrave 5:55£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. A Love Letter 3:14£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Duncan & Brady 2:44£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Never Any Good 5:26£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Good Morning Mr. Railroad Man 3:30£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Louisiana 1927 4:21£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. La Rivolte 1:54£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Andrew Lammie 9:20£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Kit's Tun / When a Knight Won His Spurs 5:21£0.69  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Martin Simpson is the complete natural musician, but his virtuosity on the guitar has often tended to unfairly overshadow his vocal and interpretive powers. His new album PRODIGAL SON demonstrates his further growth as a player, singer and composer, with an eclectic mix of British and American traditional and composed songs as well as some stunning compositions of his own. He has also brought in musicians of superb calibre to enhance the recording. Kate Rusby and Kellie While add backing vocals, there is Danny Thompson on bass and Andy Cutting on accordion and the great Jackson Browne adds vocals to Martin's masterful take on the Randy Newman classic, "Louisiana 1927", a tribute to New Orleans where he lived for several years. Other highpoints are his own compositions "Never Any Good" which he wrote for his father and the instrumental piece "Mother Love" written for his daughter Molly. Housed in a striking digipack, with outstanding photography by David Angel, the complete package is Martin's best to date.

BBC Review

Prodigal Son is the latest album from British folk singer-songwriter Martin Simpson, a man whose musical career has spanned four decades and shows no sign of slowing down. A master of the guitar and dedicated folk-magpie, this album brings together what Simpson does best, blending as it does interpretations of traditional songs from Europe and America with his own compositions, all delivered in glorious, silky, finger-style acoustic guitar. This is not to say that the acoustic is the only string to his bow; through the album Simpson shows his virtuosity with the electric, the lap-slide and even some good ol' huck-a-cluck banjo work on the American folk standard "Good Morning Mr. Railroad Man".

Simpson's vocal delivery often gets overlooked in the rush to praise his guitar playing and can be deceptively simple. This is because it fits its subject matter so well that it blends into the edifice perfectly; a relaxed and gentle timbre which nonetheless carries with it whatever freight of emotion he wishes it to in an effortless way.

Also, while this is technically a solo album, musical and vocal support is very much in evidence. The supremely talented Barry Phillips adds his cello playing, Andy Cutting his melodaeon and Alistair Anderson his concertina (the wonderful La Rivolte) and Northumbrian pipes. Vocal guests include the stellar Jackson Browne, Kellie While and Kate Rusby. The absolute highlight and centerpiece of this album though is a song Simpson wrote about his father, "Never Any Good".

This is a classic folk album with a good injection of Americana and originality; it is composed and graceful while still holding a powerful emotional charge and is a good indication that Simpson is a man in the prime of his creative life. --Harry Holgate

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I am a serial Martin Simpson reviewer - I have now bought 5 of his wonderful albums, and I have reviewed them all. Simply put, I love the arrangements, I LOVE the guitar playing and most of all I love the wonderful songs, which Martin Simpson seems to inhabit as he sings them, allowing the power of these tales of love, life, betrayal and death to show through.

"Prodigal Son" features a wonderful mix of instrumental and vocal pieces, and on this album the material featured is a mix of American and British traditional repertoire. My favourites (at the moment) are "The Granemore Hare", a haunting song about a local hunt, and the hare they are hunting. "Little Musgrave" - my absolute favourite without doubt - a wonderful song about 2 illicit lovers killed by a jealous husband - its a powerful story, and Martin Simpson plays and sings it perfectly - it brings a tear to my eye every time. "Duncan & Brady" is a simple blues ballad featuring guitar playing that is anything but simple, and is one of the most infectious tunes I have heard in a long while.

This album features several Simpson originals too, and they seem very close to his heart - a song thanking his father for being who he was, a love letter and a tune about the death of his mother - they are what make this album different from recent releases, and for me at least they are a welcome addition.

I can put on a Martin Simpson album at any time, and within a few moments I'm transported - all troubles forgotten, immersed in the music. He understands this music better than almost anyone else around, and a lifetime playing and singing it have given him a wonderfully easy presentation. This is his best album yet in my opinion.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Yet! 6 Nov 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Martin Simpson's unequalled guitar technique has now begun to take its place with a quality of lyric and voice, rather than being there just to dazzle, which it always has.
This is a truly great album rewarding repeated listening. There are many and varied excellent songs here, as well as some enchantingly beautiful instrumentals.
Notably there are very welcome new versions of three traditional favourites - 'Lakes of Champlain', 'Little Musgrave' and 'Andrew Lammie' - which stand comparison with any version heard in forty years by this reviewer.
Martin's fabulous self-penned songs here are almost eclipsed by his 'Never Any Good' - quite simply a mucking fasterpiece!
Unless you happen to be of that unfortunate species, for whom folk music is like fingernails on glass, 'Prodigal Son' is compulsory.
No, I mean, don't think about it, buy it NOW! I promise you won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 27 Oct 2008
By Aaron
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have a fairly broad music taste ....including a bit of folk.. Fairport, Richard Thompson, Nic Jones, Martin Carthy...and this album by Martin Simpson is amongst the best I've ever heard. There is no doubt that he is technically brilliant ....but it is the emotion and warmth of his playing and the combination of arrangements of traditionalsongs and original material that really makes this album different. 'Mother Love' is so simple and beautiful, and 'Never Any Good' (see Cambridge Folk Festival video) has a wonderfully told story. A real problem with many folk artists trying to write their own contemporary material is lyrics that dont work - there are no such doubts with Martin Simpson. Having seen Martin Simpson perform last night at the Red Lion folk club in Brum, even the songs on this album I felt less sure about started to make sense (i.e. 'Good Morning Mr Railroad Man'). He modestly and with a quiet charm introduced some of the context/background for each song...and then played and sang with such an amazing ability. Effortless and brilliant. Transfixed. I dont think that this album is likely to disappoint.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 4 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
We saw MS playing a Wiltshire school hall last Saturday night, where the spell he cast over the rapt audience was palpable. To be able to capture a crowd for the whole of the evening is extraordinary, especially when you consider it's "just" his voice and his guitar playing that's on display. But, as anyone who's ever seen him play live (this was my fourth time) will tell you, his ability on the guitar is nothing short of magical, while his distinctive style of singing is ideally suited to traditional material.

Put the two together, and something remarkable happens, as he's able to keep the rhythm of the accompaniment precise as he stretches and compresses the timing of the song. This is nowhere better demonstrated than in his reading of "Little Musgrave" (included on this CD), which he used as an opener on Saturday; I felt tears start into my eyes as he skillfully spelt out the dreadful ancient story with complete authority.

All of his skills are well displayed on this excellent collection as he interprets traditional ballads ("The Granemore Hare") and Americana ("Duncan & Brady"), and presents new original songs (including the heartrending "Never Any Good"). He's backed up by some stellar musicians (including harmonies from Kate Rusby, Kellie While and Jackson Browne), but they never detract from the things that take centre stage throughout: that voice, and that guitar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
CD arrived in excellent condition.
Published 22 days ago by GORDON TIERNEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive listening
I am certainly not a folk music follower but happened to hear an interview with Martin Simpson on the radio and one of his songs. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs C A van Wengen
5.0 out of 5 stars My goodness...this is good
I only discovered Martin Simpson a couple of years ago and since I've bought all of his records. He truly seems to get better and better with each one. Read more
Published on 27 April 2012 by Hitch22
5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow, melodic, lyrical stuff.
This folk-influenced album by Martin Simpson ticks all the right boxes. His guitar playing is diamond-sharp yet luscious, his melody lines are a treat, backed up by a warm, mellow... Read more
Published on 1 May 2011 by Sentinel
4.0 out of 5 stars prodigal son
excellent playing of some beautiful folk songs. slide guitar and picking done with equal skill. well worth a listen.
Published on 7 Feb 2010 by R. knott
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as they say
Not much to add except that I agree with everyone else's rave reviews. My other favourite by Martin Simpson is "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" which is a collection of instrumental... Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2009 by Hugh Janus
3.0 out of 5 stars Technicaly perfect but too sanitized
Sorry to disagree with all of the other reviews. I think that Martin Simpson is a truly wonderful musician, I've seen him live maybe twelve times and it always a joy. Read more
Published on 1 May 2009 by Vicky Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Simpson's prodigal son.
After seeing Martin Simpson play live I was greatly impressed with his playing and singing. I had to buy an album of his and was pleased I chose the prodigal son. Read more
Published on 27 April 2009 by Ralph Minton
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
This is Martin Simpson at his very best. Not a bad track on the album and many are destined to become classics. If you only ever buy one Simpson album, make it this one.
Published on 23 Feb 2009 by John Hacker
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Simson Prodigal Son
Hi, this is a rich and satisfying album. I did not know Martin Simson before, and neither did my folk lover husband, whom I bought it for. We both rate it hightly. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2009 by J. Haslam Ta Books
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