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Pete Fyfe

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Evenin's Fa'
Evenin's Fa'
Offered by Coda Music Scotland
Price: 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scott Murray - Evenin's Fa', 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Evenin's Fa' (Audio CD)
The oft quoted saying "take a chill pill" springs to mind whilst listening to the sweet honeyed vocals of Scott Murray. Although not quite lugubrious Murray's vocals and accompaniment takes you back to the first time you walked into a folk club...at least if you're forty or over. And there's nothing wrong in that particularly if (like me) you're trying to put aside the ravages of time. Aided amongst others by Jenny Gardner (fiddle), Jim Malcolm ("Moothie" or harmonica to us wet Southerners!) and Martin Green on accordion the album will transport you to a time when the world was, shall we say a `nicer' place. Conjuring images of days gone by including watching your daughter playing on a desolate beach ("Cartwheel") or the jaunty Gardner tune setting for "A Dyker's Compliments" this is an album that will ward off any ill feeling towards your fellow man. A case in point is the lyric of the song "Clarabad Mill" that allows for a bit of poetic licence to change the outcomes of two of his ancestors. In a quirky way this song also provides a map of the East Lothian, Northumberland and Berwickshire areas via the use of the names of several farms and mills. A glossary of Scots dialect may have come in handy to interpret some of the lyrics but that little niggle aside much like the Olympics at the moment this album will put a smile on your face and a warm feeling that should be enjoyed by anyone who has a heart. [...]

PETE FYFE


Wayward Daughter: An Official Biography of Eliza Carthy
Wayward Daughter: An Official Biography of Eliza Carthy
by Sophie Parkes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.82

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eliza Carthy - Wayward Daughter, 4 Sep 2012
I confess to being an intermittent fan of Eliza Carthy throughout the whole of her career so when this tome arrived on my doorstep for review I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it even though I have numerous other `music' artist biographies in my collection. I (wrongly as it goes) assumed it would be written by a `fan' (Sophie is...but very eloquent) therefore perhaps the book would be written in a `gushy' outpouring that like so many other previous experiences have cluttered my dusty shelves...forgive me ladies but I am a bloke after all. This book thankfully has no traces of `that' style of writing and from the beginning Parkes gets straight into the background of how the legacy of Eliza's parents (the `king & queen' of the British folk music scene Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson) was soaked sponge-like by Eliza at a young age. Of course the indoctrination of twee `folk' music (knowingly or otherwise) in one so young played a major part in her early music `career' and although perhaps not rebellious in the truest sense forged an `attitude' that would become an established calling card within the `folk' community. In a way, falling between two camps (the staunch `traditionalists' who had first dibs followed by a creative need to be heard as a singer-songwriter) would split Carthy's audience and ultimately create a conflict that would have mortally wounded any lesser `artist' she's ultimately a strong personality who knows her own mind brandishing her `gut-instinct' (and a strong sense of right for her `English' heritage) like a badge of honour. If, with my bias towards her more `traditional' background there are many references to her associations with (amongst others) Nancy Kerr, The Kings Of Calicutt and Boden & Spiers and less towards the Eliza Carthy Band then I could be accused of waving, not drowning as I personally feel that this is where a majority of those reading this article will be interested in. As mentioned before, this is a tremendous `read' particularly if you are a musician who wants an insight about the pitfalls of working in `the industry' succumbing to the Yankee Dollar and I look forward to hearing more from what promises to be a `fine' career choice by Ms Parkes.

PETE FYFE
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2012 8:44 PM GMT


The Queen's Lover
The Queen's Lover
Price: 13.28

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar - The Queen's Lover, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Queen's Lover (Audio CD)
Our admiration and respect should go to Paul Adams at Fellside Recordings for yet another coup. Not only did he manage to promote and nurture a certain Spiers & Boden burgeoning recording career but it now looks like he might have hit bulls-eye again with young whippersnappers Russell & Algar. Opening with the ever popular tale of "The Two Magicians" with its shape-shifting (remember Disney's Mad Madam Mim & Merlin in "Sword In The Stone") miscreants the duo inject good humour and a swinging style that comes across in a rippling tsunami performance that I haven't heard since the days of Fox & Luckley. From an instrumental point of view I hope that Ciaran's dynamic fiddle showcase of established chestnuts including "The Clumsy Lover Set" will inspire a new generation to engage with the `tradition' and not totally rely on clever but ultimately anodyne self-compositions. Having said that, its Russell's well researched choice of contemporary songs including "Love Is Life", "The Dancing" and his own not inconsiderable title track that shows a maturity beyond his years. There's plenty here to keep those of us of a certain age entertained ("Ashokan Farewell", "Icarus" and "On Raglan Road" etc) with a knowing, affectionate smile whilst Greg and Ciaran have a certain instinctive edge that will engage a younger audience. Not to harp on too much about `youth' being on their side but if this intuitive, personable duo can maintain their up-beat attitude as much as they have displayed on this album it will perhaps come as no so surprise that our antiquated `scene' is in safe hands.[...]

PETE FYFE


American Hornpipe
American Hornpipe
Price: 7.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dana & Susan Robinson - American Hornpipe, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: American Hornpipe (MP3 Download)
Whether it was Robin Hood or the 18th century English Prime Minister Robert Walpole that provides the title character for the poem "Who Killed Cock Robin" hardly matters when, in this case it's the musical production that counts. Just witness the infectious rhythm provided by River Guerguerian and Dana Robinson's `bluesy' mandolin complemented by Susan Robinson's vocals which by anyone's standards is a fine performance. Having said that, unfortunately from a critic's (and possibly general public's) point of view I couldn't get one hundred percent behind this album. Perhaps it's just me but after the opening song I was left scanning the track listing for something more substantial and perhaps wrongly a bit more `commercial'. OK, so these two `Old Time' styled talented musicians do provide gems including the effortlessly sweet toned instrumental "American Hornpipe" and an enjoyable version of Pete Sutherland's interpretation of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" but to me everything hinges on that opening track. Now (hopefully) without sounding too controversial it must be difficult trying to please everyone (or at least a majority of your potential audience) but sometimes it takes a monumental leap of faith to go with your `gut' instinct and provide something which, let's face it may not be your choice personally. Walking that delicate tightrope of do we aim an album at the `folk music' market or encompass the wider, now more widely accepted `acoustic' market is down to the artist's preferences but for me personally I'd have chosen the latter. I know how difficult it is to eke a living professionally but going the whole hog with a full band sound on record can prove advantageous to the artist (and listener) and of course from that point you can always go back to the performer's earlier recordings if you so wish. [...] PETE FYFE
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2013 7:22 PM GMT


Outlandish
Outlandish
Price: 12.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Dogan Mehmet - Outlandish, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Outlandish (Audio CD)
Blimey mate...luvvaduck...wotcher cock, it wouldn't surprise me if these and many other colloquialisms were all thrown into Dogan Mehmet's melting pot and a good few others to boot. If I was in Brick Lane I'd possibly have thought I'd just bought a `fake' CD so colourful is the International vocabulary but no, this is the genuine article. This cross cultural musician (Turkish/English) displays the passion of his roots to exploit traditional songs and instrumental textures with a smattering of youthful vigour and to help steer you as to where I'm coming from think of Jim Moray combined with a slice of Jack The Lad for good measure. It will help if you don't think too much about the ensuing clash but go with the flow and just enjoy the recording for what it is. As you may have guessed already, being somewhat an anglophile, for me personally I'm not sure about the Turkish influence (stereotypically too many late nights spent indulging in greasy kebabs and not being able to converse with anyone in the queue perhaps?) but Mehmet's passion for a broadside ballad has to be admired. If I was on a `folk' jury I'd give him ten out of ten for the English stuff particularly when he includes "Lord Bateman", "Roaming Journey Man" and "Young Edwin" in his repertoire but let's just say that the jury is still out on the Turkish stuff...well, look what they did to Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. OK, so if you like your music with bite and don't mind throwing caution to the wind then I'm pretty sure you'll find something here to crave your indulgence even though, as the title suggests you may find the whole process a little outlandish. [...]
PETE FYFE


Harbour Of Songs
Harbour Of Songs
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.26

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Various Artists - Harbour Of Songs, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Harbour Of Songs (Audio CD)
"Harbour Of Songs" is a project...excuse the pun...helmed by Adrian McNally and funded by The Stables arts centre near Milton Keynes providing an interesting background coupled with a selection of `folk-styled' music artists as diverse as Ralph McTell, Janis Ian and Guy Chambers. I won't go into much detail here (you'll have to buy the CD to find out more) but the basic concept comes from donated pieces of wood to help build a boat and songs loosely based on the stories of those donations. This may not at first sound the most riveting of reasons to purchase a copy of the album but the attention to detail and judicious use of arrangements and instrumentation harking back to the glory days of Clifford T Ward and Peter Skellern really evokes a sense of nostalgia that musically I'm pleased to see is currently on an upward `trend'. As a frequent visitor to the seaside town of Hastings I feel a particular affinity to Nick Hemming's "White Fish Authority" and for other reasons...too painful to go into detail here...with Nick Hornby's "The Ruler" which prove vivid reminders of a bygone era - mind you, if plimsolls need to be donated for a similar project please let me know. I must admit that listening to this recording was a pleasure and if, like me, you hanker for a bit of wistful reminiscing you'll be hard pushed to find a more evocative representation on what is, after all, some pretty obscure subject matter. [...]
PETE FYFE


'Live' Again
'Live' Again
Price: 14.04

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silly Wizard - Live Again, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: 'Live' Again (Audio CD)
The old saying `...died and gone to Heaven' really is the only way I can describe this re-release of Silly Wizard's performance recorded at The Sanders Theatre in Massachusetts, USA in 1983. Ah, the memories come flooding back as I relive my youth and the acoustic explosion that was Andy M Stewart (lead vocals/banjo), John & Phil Cunningham (fiddle & accordion respectively), Martin Hadden (bass) and Gordon Jones (guitar). Unfortunately I doubt we will ever see their like again as they were indeed one of a kind and for those of us that witnessed the band `live' we can count ourselves lucky that at least we were there when it happened. To have been lucky enough to bask in their company I know that everyone I talk to who remembers those days has so many anecdotes there would be enough to fill several books quite easily. Like the audience at this particular concert the choice of material including song-writer Stewart's "The Queen Of Argyle", "Golden Golden" and "The Ramblin' Rover" remain classics to this day and the humour, respect and interaction between the Cunningham Brothers comes to the fore in a truly astonishing set of seven reels that I doubt ever (in my lifetime at least) to witness again. This CD features fifteen tracks of unbelievable musicality and the warmth extended in return from the audience is a tangible experience you will rarely find anywhere else at anytime. I doubt anybody who knows me would blame me for waxing lyrical about a band that no longer exists but as long as we have recordings like this to remind us of "...the good old days" we can proudly boast we were there to witness it first hand. This is an album that not only comes highly recommended but should be an essential part of any `true' folk music enthusiast's collection. If you buy any album for nostalgia's sake this year it has to be this one! [...]

PETE FYFE


World Of Chances
World Of Chances
Price: 14.40

3.0 out of 5 stars Skerryvore - World Of Chances, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: World Of Chances (Audio CD)
I was really looking forward to this, Skerryvore's fourth album. Unfortunately their major selling-point of upfront Highland bagpipes that played such a major part of the overall sound on their previous recording has been usurped by the more rustic charms of Daniel Gillespie's accordion and Craig Espie's fiddle. OK, so the fiddle and accordion were always part of the make-up but I'm not sure about them playing such a pivotal role. Cast your mind back to a time when The Bluebells and Proclaimers were king of the swingers, Skerryvore would have fit as snugly as a rawlplug round a screw right alongside them. With Barry Caulfield (bass), Fraser West (drums) and Alec Dalglish on vocals, guitars and mandolin and guest producer Alan Scobie on keyboards and percussion in general the sound is pleasant but for me at least rarely reaches the peaks of the band's previous outing. If, however you're looking for a `festival' band then songs such as the opening track "Put Your Hands Up", the Big Country sounding "Magic Numbers" or the goodtime Zydeco styled "The Last Time" could have you swaying hypnotically along with your mates in a sweaty marquee. I'm sorry I couldn't have given this recording a more positive review but then again, perhaps next time? [...]

PETE FYFE


Live
Live
Price: 13.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Peggy Seeger - Live, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Live (Audio CD)
Many years ago I remember seeing Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl `live' at the Croydon Folk Club in the austere surroundings of the Arnhem Gallery at the Fairfield Halls. The reason I mention this is that the performance had me spellbound and many of today's younger folk artists could do worse than study this CD for an appreciation in the art of `communicating and engaging' with your audience. There are no pregnant pauses or `umming and erring' just a homely approach that makes you feel as if you've known Peggy all your life. Of course it also helps if you are comfortable with your voice (which she is) with excellent diction and a reasonable musician to boot. With a varied selection of tracks of which there are fifteen (an additional 8 tracks if you count the spoken word) featured here she seamlessly moves from her own self-written songs (the pithy "Everyone Knows" and "You Don't Know How Lucky You Are") to the traditional "Loving Hannah" and an acapella rendition of "I Been A Bad Bad Girl". This is a lady who lives life to the full as is obvious from the Sky-Diving photo in the accompanying booklet and although some may find the recording lacking a little in bite I personally find it charming harking back to the good old days (?) when we used to (be able) to sit cross-legged on the floor of The Ship in Croydon. Ah...such memories. [...]
PETE FYFE


Upon A Stranger Shore
Upon A Stranger Shore
Price: 13.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maz O'Connor - Upon A Stranger Shore, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Upon A Stranger Shore (Audio CD)
What a lovely voice! I just knew I was going to enjoy this album from the moment I played the first track "South Australia" which I'm more used to hearing being bellowed at volume eleven by burly shanty `men'. Instead, Maz's controlled and never forced vocals blends so well with her accompanying musicians Matthew Jones (guitar/double bass), Joe O'Connor (melodeon), Nicola Lyons (fiddle), Jim Molyneux (percussion) and Sam Sweeney (cello) that her maturity belies her obvious youth. When you can also roll out that hoary chestnut "Leaving Of Liverpool" without it sounding clichéd then you know you've done a good job and in the process seriously impressed your dad. Personally speaking I'm really pleased that Maz has opened her solo recording career by using a majority of well established traditional songs including "Red Red Rose", "Constant Lovers" and "Caw The Yowes" because if, for some reason she chooses to rely more heavily on her own (not inconsiderable) song-writing talents ("Rambling Free" and "Songs Of Old" etc) we, the listener can at least be comfortable in the knowledge that we know where her `roots' lay. This recording is a very impressive debut and I look forward to the next one. [...]

PETE FYFE
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2013 10:19 PM GMT


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