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I don't know how this is possible for an old folkie and guitarist (albeit a pretty rubbish one) but I have managed to miss out on Martin Simpson's work until I came across the superb Murmurs with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr Murmurs Deluxe Edition. I'm delighted to have discovered him now - however late - and to be able to say how very good this is.

Martin Simpson is a fabulous guitarist. His fingerstyle shows amazing technique and skill, but it all sounds as easy and as natural as breathing so you're often unaware of just how skilful it really is. He has a lovely touch and the guitar work as a whole is just a joy. He doesn't have the greatest of natural voices but uses it perfectly, so that it's evocative and speaks directly to you; it's really good singing, I think.

As well as the top-class musicianship, I think what also stands out in this collection of covers and traditional songs from the UK and USA is Simpson's sincerity and humanity. Sometimes it's in the words, sometimes just in the performance and delivery, but there's an engagement and unforced from-the-heart quality here which is very engaging and genuinely affecting at times.

In short, this is a really top-notch album. I suspect people reading this will already know Martin Simpson's work and won't need any encouragement from me, but for what it's worth I can recommend this very warmly indeed.
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on 9 October 2013
This collection shows Martin in his prime. It could be his best work to date.
His excellent vocal phrasing and expressiveness are spiritually wedded to the songs. As an instrumentalist he has a unique and refined touch. His Tone, range of timbre and dynamics are masterful. He plays finger-style accompaniments which are seamlessly woven into the vocals using guitar or banjo. He interpolates some exquisite slide guitar in places, sometimes plucking head-side of the slide.

There isn't a mediocre track on the CD and as I listen new favourites worm their way into my ears. A few highlights are 'Diamond Joe' with banjo; 'Delta Dreams', an atmospheric road song; an elegantly crafted reworking of a great Dylan song I had forgotten, 'North Country Blues' - plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

I went to see Martin in duo with Martin Taylor at Ashington folk club on Sunday 06/10/2013. Now I'm a big fan of Martin Taylor, but here's not the place to praise him. The duo worked beautifully together and they plan to record a CD together so watch out for it. On the night Martin Simpson sang three songs from the deluxe version of this CD; a superb version of Dylan's 'Blind Willie McTell', 'Waly Waly' and his own song telling the true story of two heroes of Gallipoli, 'Jackie and Murphy', a Geordie and a donkey respectively, written at the insistence of June Tabor. They saved over 300 wounded under deadly fire. The donkey got a medal but the man was denied a posthumous VC for being nominated "under the wrong category of heroism." In the highly unlikely event that I was ever so brave as Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick, I'd rather have the song thanks.

I bought the CD on the night on the strength of this song alone. Do as I did, buy the deluxe limited edition with an 8 track bonus CD of equally wonderful material before it sells out. It's cheaper too on Amazon!.

B. Arthur is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher active in Northumberland UK.
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on 21 August 2013
Martin has produced some very fine albums in recent years and this is another one. His skill as a guitar and banjo player is unsurpassable, he has an incredibly smooth technique, with an economy of movement on the fingers of both hands which is well displayed in a youtube clip published alongside the albums release. But what makes him one of the all time greats is the way he crafts his songs and arrangements. I was lucky enough to get the 'deluxe bonus' edition which has a second cd with an additional 8 tracks which includes a sublime reworking of a previously recorded ballad 'Fair Annie' and a Dick Gaughan inspired version of 'The Green Linnet' where Martin shows himself as one of the few folk guitarists who can really make the electric guitar work well with great subtlety in traditional music.
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on 1 September 2015
The best acoustic geetarist in the world? better than Richard Thompson? I say YES Martin Simpson should be a big star, he goes from Americana to English Folk with ease, this is his latest album recorded with just him and a geetar and or a banjo.He,s as English as they come but i bet you think he,s American on the Americana songs,he,s that authentic.
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on 15 May 2016
I could listen to Martin Simpson, sing the phone book, as long as he accompanied himself with the guitar. This is yet another superb collection of songs, new, borrowed and not so blue. I don't know why it has taken me so long to buy this album. I will let others eulogies about guitar tunings etc, it just sounds good to me.
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on 14 March 2014
Everything I have come to expect from Martin Simpson, he is getting better every album, or is just different and so continuously engaging?
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on 12 February 2014
What can I say even if youve heard the songs many times before please give this a go it is heavenly traditional but very easy on the ear
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on 9 May 2016
Delivered quickly.
Superb album from Mrtin Simpson - once again.
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on 29 September 2014
The CD arrived in immaculate condition.
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on 5 September 2013
Bought for my OH, who is delighted as ever with the music of this master of the guitar. And he's not a bad singer, too.
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