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The No Testament

12 customer reviews

Price: £13.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Image of album by Sam Carter


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Since winning Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2010, midlands-born singer, guitarist and songwriter Sam Carter has been more in demand than ever. From performances at the Royal Festival Hall for Richard Thompson’s Meltdown to sharing the stage with the great Nic Jones alongside Chris Wood, Martin Simpson and Jon Boden at Sidmouth Folk Week, Sam continues to impress ... Read more in Amazon's Sam Carter Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The No Testament + Keepsakes + Here in the Ground
Price For All Three: £36.68

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Aug. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Captain Records
  • ASIN: B008CV00CW
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,661 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
  1. Intro: Antioch0:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Dreams Are Made Of Money 3:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Jack Hall 3:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. The One 3:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Separate Ways 2:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. As Long As You Hear Me 2:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. No Other Side 4:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. One Thought 3:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Garden Hymn 2:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Waves & Tremors 2:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Ruins By The Shore 3:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
12. The No Testament 3:12£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

BBC Folk Award Horizon Award winner Sam Carter releases 'The No Testament', the follow up to his acclaimed debut album 'Keepsakes'. ''The No Testament'; the title points towards the shapenote, gospel and work song influences on the album, but also to the subject matter - all of the songs explore an aspect of our everyday lives as we experience them - love and loss, work and money, crime and punishment, individualism and altruism - so that you could say they aim to be contemporary parables or allegories.' Sam Carter The album includes contributions from the Neasden Sacred Harp Singers and guest musician Will Pound, and is led by the exceptional guitar playing, song-writing and singing of Sam Carter and includes the stand out track for our time 'Dreams Are Made Of Money' as performed recently on BBC Radio 3's The Verb. Sam's debut album led to him receiving the BBC Folk Award for best newcomer in 2010 and this follow-up is hotly anticipated, on the back of his recent involvement in the sold out MBM tour 'The Lady: A Homage To Sandy Denny' alongside Thea Gilmour, Joan Is A Policewoman, Maddy Prior, PP Arnold and more.

BBC Review

The winner of the BBC Folk Award for best newcomer in 2010 has, record-wise, been relatively quiet since 2009’s Keepsakes. Sam Carter says, in this three-year period, he’s been mainlining American spiritual and gospel music. The No Testament is his attempt to partner these devotional styles with his modern secular concerns.

This hymnal lore is striking on two occasions – the album’s bookends. Intro: Antioch is a powerful short piece recorded with the Neasden Sacred Harp Singers; if it had been 10 times as long, and a few shades darker, it would squarely fit with the apocalyptic folk school spearheaded by Current 93.

Similarly, final track The No Testament is another strong collaborative work. A stirring choir behind Carter hum and clap as our singer delivers an a cappella treatise on the necessity of living in the moment.

It’s a shame, then, that the main filling of this album never approaches the quality or originality of these two outposts. Yes, there are shining moments: the Nic Jones cover, Ruins by the Shore, is a touching interpretation, and the psychedelic blues experiment Waves & Tremors adds colour and texture to the album.

Throughout, Carter’s guitar playing is solid, occasionally superb, and he assembles a great supporting cast (most noticeably Sam Sweeney’s fiddle on Garden Hymn). Yet none of this mitigates the album’s one very serious flaw: the lyrics.

The words are where Carter explores those Modern Secular Concerns. And how. Over-specific lines like “chuck your to-do lists on the floor” (from No Other Side) and “I’m coughing up child support” (from The One) already feel dated – and not in a charming, time-capsule kind of way.

The divorce observation, Separate Ways, is especially irritating. The relentless say-what-you-see lyrics of this song turn what should have been a reflection on the sadness of a break-up into a ham-fisted cliché parade. Newly single folk fans may wish to give this one a wide berth.

A frustrating album, then. If it were only possible to turn down the vocals, The No Testament would be a work of greater spiritual, and indeed secular, interest.

--Nick Levine

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lord Kirk on 31 Aug. 2012
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
We have waited for 3 years since the acclaimed Keepsakes for new work from Sam and when it arrives it doesn't quite come up to the same level. Though, to be fair, a lot of the impact of Keepsakes was his refreshing style, so this new work doesn't have that advantage.

For me, Sam is at his best when dealing with current themes, rather than traditional "folk" material. We are treated to divorce and loss (The One, Separate Ways, One Thought), getting old and inheritance (As Long As You Hear Me and The No Testament), and money (Dreams Are Made Of Money).

The standout piece for me is The One, both in terms of the song and the arrangement - this will strike a chord with divorced Fathers.

Sam introduces some new styles: Choral / Gospel (Antioch & No Testament), which work well, and Blues (Waves and Tremors), which doesn't.

I have read a review, in the press, complaining that his lyrics lack depth and are too obvious. Granted he doesn't write songs with the depth of the likes of Chris Wood, but he is writing about the lives of "ordinary" people using their words.

So, what does all this mean? Well, if you enjoyed Keepsakes then there are definitely songs in here you will enjoy. If you are new to Sam then you may find it a bit of a Curate's Egg.

In either case, at the time of writing a number of videos have been made featuring some of the tracks; check them out on Sam's website / YouTube and see if you agree.

Most people rated Keepsakes as 4 stars, hence the 3 star rating, though 3 and a half would perhaps be more accurate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sonobuoy on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've not caught this artist live nor yet heard any previous releases but I liked this album very much. I've seen some mixed reviews but I found it to be a very enjoyable spread of traditional folk and more contemporary singer-songwriter tracks.
Sam Carter has an expressive voice with a natural English accent (not Estuary English/fake nonny-no/mid Atlantic) and plays (mainly acoustic) guitar very well. There's some very good support (Matt Ridley-Bass; Sam Nadel- drums; Sam Sweeney- violin/viola; Kit Massey- Hammond; Will Pound-harmonica; Helene Bradley- vocal backing and, on track 1, the Neasden Sacred Harp Singers )
The recording is clear and detailed so I can hear the lyrics and all the instruments.
The traditional tracks range from a Sacred Harp hymn (Antioch), through a more standard British Hymn (Garden Hymn) to the jaunty "unapologetic highwayman meets the hangman" story (Jack Hall). There's a very atmospheric version of Nic Jones' "Ruins On The Shore" but the slight majority of the tracks are penned by Sam Carter. The subjects range from the "I'd better pull my socks up" song (One Thought) through the "When I'm 64" lookalike (As Long As You Hear Me) to the bluesy "Waves and Tremors"

In total 12 tracks over 36-37 minutes.

I've seen one review saying this album is "unfocused" but to me its a very entertaining/rewarding mix that'll probably lead me look for other Sam Carter material.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By skimmity on 29 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I was told by a friend that Sam Carter was taught to play guitar by the Wonderful National Tressure that is Martin Simpson I was sold. Upon first listening to Sam Carter (having never previously heard him before), i was delighted. Delighted by Sam Carter's voice,and equally delighted by Sam Carter's guitar prowess. Listening to Sam Carter made me realise that British Folk Music is alive and well in the hands of the young, young people keen enough to listen to their parents old music, and keen enough to preserve our cultural British heritage. Sam Carter's new album The No Testament is terrific and worth double the price - this album repays in a simple homage to our British Folk Music. if you do care about our precious British Folk Music you'll buy this album to know that tomorrow is a bright day in our wonderful British Folk Music. This album is brilliant so buy it now...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pete Fyfe on 4 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
In 2010 Sam Carter was on the `folk' scene radar with his debut album and a name to watch out for. Since then he's been a bit quiet only now returning with that second `difficult' album. Starting somewhat bizarrely (to me at least) with the shape-note intro "Antioch" leading into an anthem for our times "Dreams Are Made Of Money" this track certainly has a touch of the Dransfields about it. There's a cynicism in Carter's voice that is pitched just right and by the time he gets to the broadside ballad "Jack Hall" he's pretty much cracked it. Working in conjunction with fiddler Sam Sweeney on this particular track I'd swear Swarbrick & Carthy had a hand in the arrangement. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say his presentation is lugubrious but the lyrical style of the song "The One" hits just the right chord if you watch a lot of what is currently deemed `drama' on television...buy the CD to see what I mean...and the addition of guest musicians Matt Ridley (double bass/bass guitar) and Sam Nadel on drums adds a nice touch of colour to the proceedings. Songs of the fear of old age and poignant tales of broken relationships all play their part in Sam's musical journey to the psychiatrist's chair (otherwise known as the `folk' scene) but I feel he's ultimately achieved a bulls-eye in his ability as a substantial singer-songwriter. Ok, so I've used more comparisons than I should have already in this review but if I'm allowed to mention just one more there's a touch of Pentangle about "No Other Side" and I personally feel there's nothing wrong in pointing these things out particularly if it's done with the best of intentions steering the listener to similar conclusions. [...]

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