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G. Kimpton (UK)
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Folk Singer Volume 1
Folk Singer Volume 1
Price: £10.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Folk Singer Volume 1 (Audio CD)
This is my album of the year thus far. See a full review at www.opentunes.org


The Harrow & the Harvest
The Harrow & the Harvest
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I had Only One Disc..., 6 May 2012
Since getting to know the Gillian Welch duo through Revival, Time (The Revelator) and this album, what I love the most is their stripping back of the parts as they progress, instead of adding layers. I like Revival, but feel like the reverb and electric touches clutter a good set of songs. Time is simply stunning, but this record exceeds it.

It is not in the songs that it is a better record, indeed, the ten on Time are also fault-free, but through the playing. The ten songs here are perfectly written, but the playing between Welch and Rawlings is amazing. Whereas on previous albums the pair work perfectly alongside each other, here Rawlings' flat picking seems to spiral and closely circle Welch's chordal guitar or banjo strumming, creating an organic whole that is hard to separate. The fact that it is only the pair on record is another strength. They have grown closer as a musical duo, it seems.

There is no point highlighting songs, because they are all wonderful and sit together forming an album, a real album, perfectly. (But, picking a favourite, The Way it is and Hard Times may have their noses in front.) This is not just my album of 2011, but my album of several years before and probably several years hence. Excellent stuff and worth an eight year hiatus.


Tales From The Barrel House [CD + DVD]
Tales From The Barrel House [CD + DVD]
Price: £9.61

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Earth, 2 April 2012
After a seemingly sour ending fling with the big corporate music nasties which resulted in the lacklustre and soulless Hearts and Minds (it is telling that the last time I saw Seth live there was no H&M song on the set list), Seth returns to his roots and records this fine album in the barrel house at Morwellham Quay, Devon.

With this record and the masterful Freedom Fields, Seth has established himself as a dab hand at the concept album; the lifeblood of this one being the stories of craftsmen miners and artisans of times passed. There are not many dumb notes on the record, but some tracks are stronger than others. The first two, More Than Money and Blacksmith's Prayer are probably the most effective, along with The Artisan, which bookends the album. These tracks in particular are the most powerful, with Blacksmith's Prayer very effectively evoking the atmosphere of old English working, with its strange percussion and little ghostly sounds. In fact, the lyrics here are as strong as the brilliant Solomon Brown or Fight for Favour. Although verging on twee, Apple of his Eye is another lovely track with some very tidy and quite innovative arrangements which are very welcome.

Criticisms are few and far, but I found the violin lines running through or over every song a bit intrusive at times. On some songs, like The Sender or Apple, they are subtle, but some are quite heavy, like on the otherwise strong Watchmaker's Rhyme. It would have been nice to hear the claustrophobic banjo picking of a mineshaft recorded More Than Money without the violin addition, for example. And there is the odd cliche lyric in there, but these are minor quibbles that do not take much away from a very well made and pleasing album from a back in form Seth. Nice packaging too from the guys at Proper.


Towards The Low Sun
Towards The Low Sun
Price: £7.86

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterclass, 15 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Towards The Low Sun (Audio CD)
After a long hiatus with each band member being on different corners of the globe with their thumbs in numerous pies, they get together long enough to deliver this essential, explosive release. Their statement is clear from the beginning of Furnace Skies, which kicks off the record with a blast of percussion and a moody slightly distorted fuzzy guitar loop. Ellis's violin comes in to wash over and lift and 3Dise the sound a little and the whole thing comes together beautifully.

The mood changes on the next tracks several times, and the listener really feels like there is a wealth of emotion in this recording. It is quintessential Dirty Three, like the trio have taken all they have learnt from the last twenty years and put into this forty minute sucker punch. It does not flow like, say, Ocean Songs, but the variety is richer and the songs are more powerful and aggressive and on the right side of accessible.

The Low Sun is a huge and very powerful album and it leaps from the speakers and shows the listener what can still be done with the LP. This level of music does not appear very often, and it is testament to the band that they are still, remarkably, at the very top of their game.


Hearts & Minds
Hearts & Minds
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.04

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Problem with Hearts and Minds, 9 May 2011
This review is from: Hearts & Minds (Audio CD)
I am a big fan of Seth's; Freedom Fields is one of my very favourite discs, and the reasons why I rate that record tie in with my disappoinment of Hearts and Minds.
Freedom Fields, and indeed Kitty Jay, are two albums with a consistent narrative (particularly the battle thread running through FF), a simple, organic production, and fine songs.
When I heard Seth test running songs from HaM on tour before its release, I was excited. Changes was played with just Seth picking a simple melody on the violin; The Circle Grows was another simple tune on the tenor guitar, reminiscent of Send Yourself Away from The Punch Bowl. But on record these tunes have been glossed up and over-produced to be drowned out by instruments and studio polish until the charm has gone. And the rest of the album has the same problem. Seth's song writing and ear for melody is still intact, but the curse of the big record label has hit. I think it is a shame his songs have been pulled around so much in the studio.
I am looking forward to hearing the new artisan series of songs as a collection, I am just hoping these simple, old fashioned tunes remain so on record. Perhaps Seth should release a live disc for us purists.


Chulahoma
Chulahoma
Price: £5.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 23 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Chulahoma (Audio CD)
I have listened to The Black Keys for years and, although thickfreakness was great, I believe they still havent managed to re-create the magic of The Big Come Up. With Chulahoma all of the intimacy and warmth of that record is restored. Its obvious Dan is a huge Kimbrough fan; the songs are lovingly performed at a leisurely pace that works really well. I liked Magic Potion, but I probably now listen to this Ep more than any of the other albums. That could be worrying since the songs are not theirs, but the execution of them is pure Black Keys. Enough of the Jack and Dan comparisons, they are worlds apart and as good as each other.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2011 4:01 PM GMT


The Black Keys - Black Keys - Live [2005] [DVD] [2004]
The Black Keys - Black Keys - Live [2005] [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ The Black Keys
Price: £12.49

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dan and pat's excellent adventures, 6 Jan. 2006
I saw the Black Keys in london last year and, along with the White Stripes gig this year it is the best gig I have been to so far; the energy and sound these two create is outstanding, and this comes across on the dvd. Dan's guitar riffs are minimal and powerful, and are executed with undeniable skill, a guitar player in the elite jack white generation for sure. Pat's drumming is notched up vastly live compared to the albums too; the two interact and perform perfectly. The dvd, like the Stripes' Blackpool Lights, is light in extras/gimmicks: another plus; let the music speak, which it does, loudly.


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